Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-3-power-rankings
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Week 3 featured a pedestrian slate of games in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas was the only conference game, while Texas easily handled Ole Miss on the road and Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State cruised to victories. The Horned Frogs were victorious in their first Big 12 game, but the Jayhawks showed signs of progress in defeat.

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith has been unstoppable through the first two games, tossing just as many touchdowns (9) as incompletions (9).

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein continues to be a one-man wrecking crew, recording nine touchdowns and 819 yards through the first two weeks.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle has three 100-yard efforts to open the season and has caught nine passes for 77 yards.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown shook off a leg injury in the win over North Texas to record 13 tackles. Through three weeks, he has 28 tackles and one sack.

2. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat recorded only one tackle but also picked up his second sack of the season against Ole Miss.

3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – The competition hasn’t been great, but it’s hard to ignore Bruce’s performance through the first two games. He has 25 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery so far this year.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State - Rhoads has led Iowa State to back-to-back 3-0 starts and won’t be an easy out in Big 12 play.

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State – The Wildcats are 3-0 but largely untested. Kansas State opens Big 12 play against Oklahoma this Saturday.

3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – Behind quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, the Mountaineers’ offense has been unstoppable through the first two games of 2012.

 

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 3 Result: Did not play
The Sooners did not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 4 against Kansas State. Oklahoma has a strange schedule over the next couple of weeks, as it hosts the Wildcats, then has another bye week before playing at Texas Tech on Oct. 6.  The Sooners have defeated Kansas State five times in a row, including a 58-17 victory in Manhattan last season.
Next Game: Kansas State

2. Texas (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 3 Result: Beat Ole Miss 66-31
While it wasn’t a conference road test, traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss was a key game for Texas. The Longhorns surprisingly gave up 31 points to the Rebels but were never in any danger of losing. Quarterback David Ash turned in a solid performance, throwing for 326 yards and four touchdowns. The ground attack punished Ole Miss for 350 yards on 54 attempts. Texas has a bye week to prepare for its Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns will have to take a wait-and-see approach on preparing for the Cowboys offense, as starting quarterback Wes Lunt was injured in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 29)

3. West Virginia (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
3
Week 3 Result: Beat James Madison 42-12
The Mountaineers hold steady in the power rankings after cruising to an easy 42-12 victory over FCS opponent James Madison. Quarterback Geno Smith was nearly flawless, completing 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns. With Matt Barkley’s performance against Stanford, Smith has to be considered the frontrunner to win the Heisman after three weeks. Receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin each went over 100 yards and caught double-digit passes. As expected West Virginia’s defense had a much better performance than it had in Week 1, as the Dukes’ only touchdown came with less than a minute remaining.
Next Game: Maryland

4. TCU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 3 Result: Beat Kansas 20-6
The Horned Frogs capped a historic weekend with a 20-6 win over Kansas in their first Big 12 game. TCU easily outgained the Jayhawks (507 to 379) but it was far from a complete performance. The Horned Frogs had four turnovers and went 2 of 9 on third-down conversions. Quarterback Casey Pachall passed for 335 yards, with Brandon Carter his preferred target (eight receptions, 141 yards and two scores). TCU’s defense had question marks about its back seven coming into the year, and Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 303 yards. Although it wasn’t a perfect effort for Gary Patterson’s team, it’s a good way to start life in the Big 12.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 3 Result: Beat North Texas 35-21
Bill Snyder wasn’t particularly pleased with his team after Saturday’s 35-21 win over North Texas. However, the Wildcats are 3-0 and have made it through the first three weeks without a major injury. Kansas State allowed the Mean Green to hang around, largely due to the strong performance of quarterback Derek Thompson (25 of 28, 208 yards). The defense struggled with missed tackles, while the offense had two turnovers and running back John Hubert never got on track (38 yards, 12 attempts). Kansas State opens Big 12 play in Week 4 with a huge test at Oklahoma.
Next Game: at Oklahoma

6. Oklahoma State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 3 Result: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette 65-24
Despite losing quarterback Wes Lunt on the first series of the game, the Cowboys rolled to an easy 65-24 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Lunt suffered a knee injury and did not return. His long-term status is uncertain, but Oklahoma State has a bye week before playing Texas on Sept. 29. With Lunt sidelined, J.W. Walsh shined, throwing for 347 yards and adding 73 yards on the ground. Running back Joseph Randle was solid as usual, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. Oklahoma State’s defense held the Ragin’ Cajuns without a point in the first half, before allowing 24 in the final two quarters. Lunt’s injured knee will be watched closely over the next two weeks, but if he can’t go, Walsh is more than capable of leading the Cowboys to a win over the Longhorns.
Next Game: Texas (Sept. 29)

7. Baylor (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 7
Week 3 Result: Beat Sam Houston State 48-23
One of the biggest surprises from the Big 12's Week 3 action was Sam Houston State leading Baylor 20-10 at halftime. However, the Bears took control in the second half and won 48-23. Quarterback Nick Florence was solid, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding a 60-yard rush. As expected, Baylor’s offense stepped up in the second half, but the defense held the Bearkats to just three points in the final two quarters. The Bears have a short week to prepare for a trip to Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night, before playing at West Virginia to open Big 12 play.
Next Game: at Louisiana-Monroe (Friday)

8. Iowa State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 3 Result: Beat Western Illinois 37-3
The Cyclones are 3-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. Iowa State dominated Western Illinois on Saturday, jumping out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and cruising to a 37-3 win. The Cyclones got a strong performance from quarterback Steele Jantz (19 of 26 for 209 yards and three touchdowns), while the defense allowed only 178 total yards. Iowa State is halfway to bowl eligibility thanks to its 3-0 start, but the schedule is only going to get tougher the rest of the way with only Big 12 opponents.
Next Game: Texas Tech (Sept. 29)

9. Texas Tech (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 3 Result: Beat New Mexico 49-14
The Red Raiders haven’t had to sweat much through the first three weeks of the season and cruised to an easy 49-14 win over New Mexico. Quarterback Seth Doege was sharp, throwing for 340 yards and six touchdowns, while the offense had three players rush for at least 60 yards. The defense was a concern going into the year but has played well so far. Texas Tech allowed 30 points through the first three games and ranks second nationally in total defense. The competition is going to get better, but the first three weeks are a good sign for Texas Tech.
Next Game: at Iowa State

10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 3 Result: Lost to TCU 20-6
A week after a disappointing loss to Rice, the Jayhawks dropped their Big 12 opener to TCU. Although Kansas has not won a Big 12 game since Nov. 6, 2010, it didn’t fade late and had chances to pull closer. The Jayhawks defense forced four turnovers but allowed quarterback Casey Pachall to throw for 335 yards. Quarterback Dayne Crist matched Pachall with a 300-yard effort, but the Jayhawks’ offense was unable to capitalize off TCU’s four turnovers. Kansas’ offense will get an extra weapon back this week, as running back James Sims will return from a three-game suspension.
Next Game: at Northern Illinois


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:29
All taxonomy terms: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Big 12, News
Path: /news/wes-lunt-injures-knee-oklahoma-state-win
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Oklahoma State starting quarterback Wes Lunt was injured during Saturday's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, and his long-term status for the rest of the season is up in the air. However, early reports have indicated Lunt's injury may not be significant, and he could return for the Sept. 29 matchup against Texas.

If Lunt is unable to return, the Cowboys will turn to J.W. Walsh. The redshirt freshman completed 21 of 30 passes for 347 yards and four scores against the Ragin' Cajuns. He also rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Although Oklahoma State would have liked to get Lunt more comfortable in the offense with Big 12 play coming up, Walsh's performance was encouraging and shows the Cowboys are still a Big 12 title contender even if Lunt can't play for a couple of games.

Oklahoma State also has the potent combination of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith at running back, while the defense is solid. 

The extent of Lunt's injury probably won't be known for a few days, but as the video below shows, it could have been a lot worse. 

Oklahoma State's next game isn't until Sept. 29, so the true freshman has plenty of time to heal. However, even if Lunt misses time, Walsh showed he is capable of leading the Cowboys to a victory over Texas.

Teaser:
<p> Wes Lunt's Injury A Big Loss for Oklahoma State</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 17:20
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-3-preview-match-ups-upset-picks-and-storylines-watch
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College football's Week 3 slate is full of interesting action. Arkansas had a surprising defeat to Louisiana-Monroe last week but has a chance to knock off No. 1 Alabama this Saturday. The Razorbacks are heavy underdogs and could be without starting quarterback Tyler Wilson. The action in the SEC isn't limited to Arkansas-Alabama, as Florida-Tennessee meet in Knoxville for a crucial East Division showdown. Notre Dame-Michigan State, USC-Stanford, BYU-Utah and North Carolina-Louisville are some of the other top games to monitor this weekend.

Top Storylines to Watch in Week 3

1. Will Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson play against Alabama?
With or without Tyler Wilson, Arkansas has an uphill battle to beat Alabama on Saturday. The Razorbacks have lost their last five games against the Crimson Tide, including a 38-14 matchup last season. In addition to preparing for college football’s No. 1 team, Arkansas is still reeling from last week’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. If Wilson can’t go, redshirt freshman Brandon Allen or junior Brandon Mitchell will get the start. The offense isn’t the only side of the ball dealing with question marks, as the Razorbacks have to play better on defense to beat Alabama. Even if Wilson plays, this matchup has all of the makings of an Alabama blowout.

2. SEC East Showdown
The Tennessee-Florida rivalry isn’t quite ready to become nationally relevant once again, but it’s getting closer. Both teams are off to 2-0 starts, and the winner of this game could challenge Georgia or South Carolina in the East. The Volunteers’ passing attack (353.5 yards per game) will be challenged by a Florida secondary that has yet to allow a passing touchdown this season. While Tennessee should be able to move the ball on the Gators’ secondary, it needs to establish the ground game and bring some balance to the offense. When Florida has the ball, all eyes will be on Jeff Driskel. The sophomore finished with 162 passing yards against Texas A&M but didn’t throw an interception. For the Gators to win, Driskel needs to be efficient, while running back Mike Gillislee needs to get to at least 100 yards.

3. Can Matt Barkley finally beat Stanford?
The only Pac-12 team Matt Barkley hasn’t defeated during his illustrious USC career is Stanford. The Cardinal have won the last three games in this series and had a convincing 50-13 win over Duke last week. While Stanford has had success against the Trojans in recent years, Barkley should be able to win his final matchup against the Cardinal. Stanford’s secondary is allowing 290 yards a game and has yet to play a passing attack as skilled and talented as the Trojans'. The Cardinal’s rushing attack will test USC’s defense, but the Trojans simply have too much firepower on offense.

4. Can Michigan State remain unbeaten?
With Michigan and Nebraska losing in the first two weeks of the season, Michigan State is the Big Ten’s best shot at reaching the national title. The Spartans had a sluggish showing in the opener against Boise State but as expected, had a convincing win over Central Michigan last week. Michigan State takes on Notre Dame this Saturday, a team it has defeated two times in a row in East Lansing. The Irish handled the Spartans 31-13 in South Bend last year. Quarterbacks will be in the spotlight in this game, as Michigan State wants to see progress from Andrew Maxwell, while this will be Everett Golson’s toughest challenge as Notre Dame’s quarterback. Golson did not finish last Saturday’s game against Purdue but has thrown for 433 yards and two touchdowns on 49 attempts thus far. With two young quarterbacks still finding their rhythm, look for a low-scoring, defensive game. Turnovers will play a large role in determining the outcome of this matchup, while it’s also important for both quarterbacks to get on track early in the game.

5. The Holy War
The Holy War is one of the nation’s top rivalry games and Saturday’s game will be an important one for both BYU and Utah. The Cougars lost 54-10 to the Utes last season and need to go unbeaten to have any shot at a BCS game. Utah is reeling a bit, as it lost to in-state foe Utah State last Friday and lost quarterback Jordan Wynn for the season with a shoulder injury. The stakes are always high when these two teams meet, but there’s an extra sense of urgency. The Utes need a good showing to erase last week’s disappointing effort, especially with Pac-12 play beginning on Sept. 22 at Arizona State. For the Cougars, it’s all about revenge and keeping BCS hopes alive. With both teams ranked in the top 20 in total defense, points could be at a premium on Saturday.
 

6. Intriguing Off-the-Radar Games

Wake Forest at Florida State – This is the first real test for Florida State. Games against Murray State and Savannah State didn’t give much insight into the Seminoles, who are expected to challenge for the national title. The Demon Deacons are a big underdog but are 2-2 in their last four games against Florida State. One area to watch for the Seminoles on Saturday will be a revamped offensive line.

Virginia at Georgia Tech – It’s only Week 3, but this is a crucial game for the Yellow Jackets. With an opening week loss to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech needs to win to keep its ACC Coastal title hopes alive. With a win over the Yellow Jackets, Virginia would be positioned to be the top challenger to the Hokies.

Arkansas State at Nebraska – After allowing 36 points to UCLA last Saturday, the Red Wolves won’t be an easy out for Nebraska. Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin ranks eighth nationally in total offense, while Tennessee transfer David Oku is averaging 96 yards a game on the ground. The Red Wolves may not win, but will give Nebraska all it can handle.

Connecticut at Maryland – Otherwise known as the Randy Edsall Bowl. Edsall had a messy departure from Connecticut and hasn’t won over all Maryland fans after a 4-10 start to his tenure in College Park. While Edsall facing his old team will be intriguing, the real matchup to watch is the Huskies’ defense against the Terrapins’ offense. Connecticut’s defense has allowed 10 points through the first two games of this year and could make life difficult on Maryland true freshman quarterback Perry Hills.

North Carolina at Louisville – The Tar Heels struggled to stop Wake Forest last week, allowing 327 passing yards to quarterback Tanner Price. North Carolina’s secondary will be under fire once again, as it looks to slow down Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.

Arizona State at Missouri – These two teams met for a 37-30 shootout last season, and there should be no shortage of points this Saturday. The Sun Devils are off to a fast start under new coach Todd Graham, while Missouri dropped its SEC opener to Georgia last week.

TCU at Kansas – The Jayhawks are reeling, especially after losing to Rice last week. The Horned Frogs easily took care of Grambling last Saturday, but this will be their first Big 12 game in school history. TCU should win without much trouble, but this is a historic moment in the program’s history.

Washington State at UNLV – The Rebels shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Cougars, especially after losing to Northern Arizona last week. However, it will be interesting to watch Washington State’s offense. Surprisingly, the Cougars have yet to get on track, and will likely have a new quarterback under center (Connor Halliday).
 

7. Five Players to Watch

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State – Thanks to two strong performances, Miller has thrown his name into the Heisman mix. The sophomore has back-to-back 100-yard rushing efforts, while throwing for 362 yards and three scores. Miller should shine once again against California, but Urban Meyer would like to reduce his carries this Saturday.

David Ash, QB, Texas – Saturday’s game at Ole Miss will be Ash’s second start on the road. Although the competition hasn’t been great, the sophomore has thrown for 377 yards and three touchdowns in two games and has yet to throw an interception. If Ash has another solid performance in Oxford, it would help ease the concerns about the offense going into Big 12 play.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – After sitting out the first two games of the year due to a suspension, Watkins will be back in the lineup against Furman. The Tigers shouldn’t need Watkins to win, but it’s a crucial time to have the sophomore back in the lineup. With Florida State up next, Clemson needs Watkins and quarterback Tajh Boyd to be on the same page.

Kiehl Frazier, QB, Auburn – Auburn’s offense ranks among the worst in the SEC and it may not get much better if Frazier doesn’t improve along the way. The sophomore has thrown for 319 yards in the first two games but has also tossed four picks. It’s important that Frazier gain some measure of confidence before the Tigers play LSU on Sept. 22.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Manziel was solid in his college debut, throwing for 173 yards, while rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown. He should get better with more experience and should have a huge day against a SMU defense allowing 532.5 yards per game.
 

8. Desperate for a Win

Auburn (0-2) – With a schedule that features LSU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M in the upcoming SEC slate, Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe is a must-win game for Auburn. The Tigers are struggling to find the right mix on offense, but the defense has to tackle better and stop opposing team’s rushing attacks.

Colorado (0-2) – Coach Jon Embree inherited a tough situation at Colorado, but he has done little to show the Buffaloes are on the right track. After losing to Colorado State and Sacramento State, Colorado desperately needs to beat Fresno State this Saturday.

Penn State (0-2) – The Nittany Lions nearly broke into the win column against Virginia last week but missed a last-second field goal for the victory. Penn State gets a Navy team that’s always difficult to prepare for, but the Nittany Lions’ defense should be up to the task.

Pittsburgh (0-2) – The Panthers were a popular sleeper pick in the preseason, but they are off to a disappointing 0-2 start, which includes a 31-17 loss at the hands of Youngstown State. Getting into the win column for Pittsburgh won't be easy, especially with a tough matchup against Virginia Tech this Saturday.

Wisconsin (1-1) – The Badgers have not looked like a Big Ten title contender through the first two weeks of the season, barely beating Northern Iowa in Week 1 and losing to Oregon State in Week 2. Wisconsin faces a dangerous Utah State team on Saturday, and it will be interesting to watch how the Badgers' offensive line plays, especially after line coach Mike Markuson was fired after last week’s game.
 

9. Injuries to Monitor

Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois – Scheelhaase did not play in the loss to Arizona State but is expected to play against Charleston Southern this Saturday.

Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina – Shaw missed last week’s game against East Carolina due to a shoulder injury, but backup Dylan Thompson threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in his absence. Shaw is getting closer to a return, but the Gamecocks may hold him out until next week’s SEC game against Missouri.

Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State – Tuel suffered a knee injury against Eastern Washington and is unlikely to play in Friday’s game against UNLV.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas – Wilson suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe and is questionable to play on Saturday. Even if Wilson plays, it will be tough for Arkansas to beat Alabama.

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard missed last week’s game against Wake Forest due to a knee injury but is back at practice and is expected to play on Saturday.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska – Burkhead missed last week’s game against UCLA due to a sprained MCL and may not play once again this week. The Cornhuskers should be able to establish their ground attack against Arkansas State without Burkhead, so they can afford to allow him another week of rest. 

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida – Gillislee has been a key factor in Florida’s 2-0 start this season, rushing for 231 yards and four touchdowns so far. He suffered a groin injury against Texas A&M, but it is not expected to sideline him against Tennessee this Saturday.

Nick Harwell, WR, Miami (Ohio) – Harwell is battling a knee injury, which is a concern for the RedHawks’ passing attack with Boise State on tap for this Saturday.

Khaled Holmes, C, USC – Holmes left last Saturday’s game against Syracuse with a leg injury, and his status for this week’s game against Stanford is uncertain. The senior is one of the nation’s best centers, so if he is forced to miss any time, it will be a huge blow to USC’s offense.
 

10. Upset Picks to Watch

Ball State at Indiana (-2.5)
The Hoosiers are off to a 2-0 start, but their schedule has been very soft. Quarterback Tre Roberson was lost for the year due to a leg injury against UMass, which means junior college recruit Cameron Coffman will step into the starting role. Ball State upset Indiana last season, so a victory this Saturday wouldn’t be much of a surprise.
Pick: Ball State 31-27

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (-16.5)
Thanks to their upset win against Arkansas last Saturday, the Warhawks have been in the spotlight all week. Can they make it two in a row? Auburn’s defense is capable of playing better than it has so far this year, which will make life tough for ULM quarterback Kolton Browning. If the Tigers struggle on offense once again, the Warhawks will have a shot at the upset.
Pick: Auburn 30-24

Utah State at Wisconsin (-13)
The Badgers have not impressed through the first two weeks of the season, and coach Bret Bielema isn’t waiting long to make changes. Line coach Mike Markuson was fired, which is yet another change to a coaching staff that went through many personnel changes following the 2011 season. Utah State is coming off an upset over Utah last week and if it doesn’t suffer much of a hangover from beating the Utes, it could pull off another one this Saturday.
Pick: Wisconsin 34-27

Western Kentucky at Kentucky (-7)
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips desperately needs to win this Saturday. The Wildcats were handled by in-state rival Louisville in the season opener and can’t afford to lose to the Hilltoppers this week. Western Kentucky doesn’t have an explosive offense, but its defense picked up six sacks against Alabama last week.
Pick: Western Kentucky 24, Kentucky 20
 

11. Five Games to Avoid

James Madison at West Virginia
This game should be an opportunity for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to pad his stats for a run at the Heisman.
Pick: West Virginia 58-7

UMass at Michigan
Even though the Wolverines are allowing 33 points a game, UMass’ offense should pose little threat after scoring six points through the first two contests.
Pick: Michigan 52-7

Idaho at LSU
After losing to Eastern Washington in the season opener, the Vandals played better in Week 2 against Bowling Green. However, Idaho is simply overmatched against LSU.
Pick: LSU 52-3

FAU at Georgia
The Owls barely squeaked by FCS opponent Wagner in the season opener and lost to MTSU in Week 2. The Bulldogs might have a bit of a letdown after winning at Missouri last week, but they will still pull away for one-sided victory on Saturday.
Pick: Georgia 50-7

Tennessee Tech at Oregon
The Ducks haven’t had to sweat much through the first two weeks of the season and should have another breather against Tennessee Tech. The only intrigue surrounding this matchup will be former Tennessee receiver Da’Rick Rogers (now at Tennessee Tech) taking on the Ducks’ secondary.
Pick: Oregon 62-10


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 3 Preview: Match-Ups, Upset Picks and Storylines to Watch</p>
Post date: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 06:06
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-3-emergency-starters
Body:

The end of the week is upon us and you just don’t have the warm fuzzies about your Week Three starters.  We’ve teamed up with Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports and scoured the schedule looking for some one-week wonders. 

Emergency Starters—Week 3
 

Quarterback

Jordan Rodgers-Vanderbilt vs Presbyterian

Mike Glennon, NC St vs South Alabama

Cody Green-Tulsa vs Nicholls St

Dalton Williams-Akron vs Morgan St

Munchie Legaux-Cincinnati vs Delaware St

 

Running Backs

Adam Muema-San Diego St vs North Dakota

Shontrelle Johnson-Iowa St vs Western Illinois

Jawon Chisholm-Akron vs Morgan St

Leighton Settle-Northern Illinois at Army

Josh Ferguson-Illinois vs Charleston Southern

Rolandan Finch-Boston College at Northwestern

Mustafa Greene-NC St vs South Alabama

 

Receivers

Antavian Edison-Purdue vs Eastern Michigan

Marquelo Suel-Akron vs Morgan St

Myles White-Louisiana Tech vs Rice

Chris Coyle-Arizona St at Missouri

 

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)
 

Quarterback

Steele Jantz-Iowa St vs Western Illinois

Ryan Katz-San Diego St vs North Dakota

Andrew Manley, New Mexico St vs UTEP

Dalton Williams-Akron vs Morgan St

 

Running Backs

DeLeon Eskridge-San Jose St vs Colorado

LaDarius Perkins-Mississippi St at Troy

Jerrell Rhodes-Memphis vs MTSU

Bishop Sankey, Washington vs Portland St

 

Receivers

Alex Amidon-Boston College at Northwestern

Jamison Crowder-Duke vs NC Central

Aaron Horne-Iowa St vs Western Illinois

Marquelo Suel-Akron vs Morgan St

Kenbrell Thompkins-Cincinnati vs Delaware St

 

Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 3 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 00:38
Path: /college-football/sec-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It's another big week in the SEC, as Arkansas hosts Alabama and Florida travels to Knoxville in a crucial East Division matchup. The Razorbacks could be without quarterback Tyler Wilson and are reeling after a disappointing loss to ULM. The Crimson Tide didn't have a flawless effort against Western Kentucky but should be ready for Arkansas' offense on Saturday. Two games to keep an eye on: Western Kentucky at Kentucky and ULM at Auburn. Both games are trendy upset picks this week, especially after ULM beat Arkansas in Little Rock last Saturday.

Other Week 3 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 Pac-12

SEC's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 3

1. Can Tennessee run the ball against a quality opponent?
The Vols are averaging 187.5 yards rushing through two games — a major improvement from last season, when they ranked 12th in the league and 116th in the nation with 90.1 yards per game. But the sample size is still very small, and one of their opponents, Georgia State, is among the worst FCS programs in the nation. The first significant test will come this weekend when Florida visits Neyland Stadium. The Gators have some injury issues in the front seven, but this is still a formidable group. Last week, Florida held Christine Michael of Texas A&M to 33 yards on 13 carries and limited the Aggies as a team to a modest 3.5 yards on their 38 rushing attempts. Tennessee boasts one of the nation’s most explosive passing attacks, but the Vols must get something going on the ground this week to beat Florida.

2. Can Jeff Driskel continue to play mistake-free football?
There a lot of things that Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease had to like about Driskel’s performance in the Gators’ 20–17 win at Texas A&M. The sophomore quarterback improved his efficiency, completing 81.3 percent and averaging 10.1 yards per attempt in Week 2 after completing 62.5 percent and averaging 7.1 per attempt against Bowling Green. He also did some damage on the ground, running for 56 positive yards (though he lost 48 while taking eight sacks). But the biggest positive? He didn’t throw an interception — and hasn’t done so in 32 pass attempts this season. Pease would no doubt like to see his quarterback take fewer sacks and have more success throwing the ball down the field, but if Driskel can continue to protect the football and the Gators continue to get solid production from tailback Mike Gillislee, this team will win a lot of games in 2012.

3. Kiehl Frazier vs. Kolton Browning
The UL Monroe vs. Auburn game Saturday features one of the nation’s hottest quarterbacks (Browning) vs. one of the most maligned (Frazier). Browning, a former 3-star recruit (Scout) who had no BCS offers, threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 69 more and one score in the Warhawks’ thrilling overtime win at Arkansas last weekend. Meanwhile, Frazier, a consensus top-100 national recruit two years ago, is struggling mightily in his first season as the starter. The Arkansas native has completed less than 50 percent of his passes and has one touchdown and four interceptions in the Tigers’ losses to Clemson and Mississippi State. To be fair, Frazier has faced arguably the most difficult schedule in the nation to date, but there is no denying that his performance has been a disappointment. Auburn has little depth at the quarterback position and pretty much has all of its eggs in the Frazier basket. The Tigers desperately need him to emerge as a competent quarterback — for this season and the future of the program. 

4. Can Arkansas stop Alabama?
When you think Arkansas vs. Alabama, the first matchup that comes to mind is the Razorbacks’ potent offense (if Tyler Wilson is healthy) vs. the Tide’s stout defense. But the key to Arkansas being competitive with the No. 1 team in the nation will be the Hogs’ ability to slow down the Bama offensive attack. After two games, Arkansas ranks 86th in the nation in total defense and 85th in scoring defense — and that is after playing Jacksonville State from the FCS ranks and UL Monroe of the Sun Belt. The Hogs have been especially bad defending the pass, allowing their two opponents to throw for an average of 319.5 yards and a combined five touchdowns. Alabama, meanwhile, has been the most efficient passing team in the SEC to date. This doesn’t look like a good matchup for Arkansas — on many fronts. 

5. Missouri’s banged-up offensive line
Missouri boasts one of the SEC’s most dynamic quarterbacks in junior James Franklin and a nice collection of skill players. But the Tigers will struggle to win games unless they can shore up their offensive line. The Tigers lost two projected starters in the preseason when left guard Travis Ruth suffered a torn triceps (out for the season) and right guard Jack Meiners injured his left knee (out indefinitely). Then, in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to Georgia, sixth-year senior Elvis Fisher went down with an MCL injury in his right knee. This week against Arizona State, MU will start a true freshman at left guard (Evan Boehm), a redshirt freshman at center (Brad McNulty) and a former walk-on at right guard (Max Copelan).

7. Who will give up more points — if any — this week, Georgia (vs. Florida Atlantic) or LSU (vs. Idaho)?
The two participants of the 2011 SEC Championship Game take on two of the worst FBS teams in the nation this weekend. Florida Atlantic is 1–1 with a 7–3 win over Wagner and a 31–17 loss to Middle Tennessee (which lost to McNeese State the week before). Idaho is 0–2 with a 20–3 loss at home to Eastern Washington and a 21–13 loss at Bowling Green. The Vandals have scored one touchdown in eight quarters. Both Georgia and LSU could sit their starters for the entire game and still win with ease.

8. Can Bo keep it going?
Ole Miss sophomore Bo Wallace has been a pleasant surprise at quarterback for first-year coach Huge Freeze. The junior college transfer has completed 76.1 percent of his passes for 438 yards with five touchdowns and one interception and has also rushed for 135 yards and two scores. Those stats, however, were accumulated against Central Arkansas and UTEP. Now, the Tennessee native will test his mettle against a ferocious Texas defense that has allowed a total of 17 points in two games. Ole Miss, which hasn’t defeated a team from an AQ conference since October 2010 (Kentucky), is a 10.5-point underdog at home. Wallace will have to play extremely well to give the Rebels a chance to win.

9. Can Kentucky avoid the unthinkable — a loss to Western Kentucky?
After losing its first two games in the series by an average of 36.5 points (in ’08 and ’10), Western Kentucky made the boys from Big State U sweat in last season’s opener played in Nashville. The final score was 14–3, but Kentucky didn’t put the game away until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. WKU outgained the Cats 234 to 190 and controlled the time of possession, 34:00 to 26:00. Can the Hilltoppers break through and upset Kentucky — and deliver a crippling blow to Joker Phillips in the process? It could happen, especially if Kentucky continues to struggle on defense. The Cats beat Kent State 47–14 last weekend but gave up 409 yards to a team that only picked 267 the week before vs. Towson State. It was only the second time in the past 15 games that Kent State topped the 400-yard mark. Western Kentucky scored 49 points in a Week 1 win over FCS foe Austin Peay and then was shut out 35–0 at Alabama. The Toppers did, however, have modest success in the air vs. the Tide as Kawaun Jakes completed 20-of-31 for 178 yards. Jakes is good enough to do some damage against the suspect Kentucky defense. 

10. Can Mississippi State handle prosperity?
The Bulldogs are fresh off one of their most impressive wins in years, a 28–10 beatdown of SEC West rival Auburn. The Bulldogs are only 2–0, but the majority of their fans are all but certain that MSU will be 5–0 when Tennessee visits on Oct. 13. That is why this week’s trip to Troy is a bit dangerous. The Bulldogs have struggled in recent years with some teams from so-called lesser conferences. They beat Louisiana Tech last season and UAB in 2010 by an average of 5.5 points and lost to Houston 31–24 in ’09 and Louisiana Tech 22–14 in ’08. Dan Mullen  is well aware of what his team can accomplish this season and will do everything in his power to be sure the Bulldogs are mentally ready to take care of business at the venue formerly known as Movie Gallery Stadium.   

SEC Week 3 Predictions

SEC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
ULM (+16.5) at Auburn  Auburn 28-24 Auburn 38-31 Auburn 30-24 Auburn 30-17
Presbyterian at Vandy Vandy 35-10 Vandy 27-7 Vandy 45-3 Vandy 41-0
Texas A&M at SMU (+12.5) TAMU 38-14 TAMU 34-3 TAMU 41-20 TAMU 38-20
Alabama at Arkansas (+21) Alabama 38-10 Alabama 38-14 Alabama 34-10 Alabama 31-17
Florida (+3) at Tennessee Tennessee 21-17 Tennessee 27-21 Tennessee 24-20 Florida 24-21
Miss. State at Troy (+16) Miss. State 35-14 Miss. State 31-13 Miss. State 38-14 Miss. State 33-14
Arizona State (+6.5) at Mizzou Mizzou 31-17 Mizzou 34-24 Mizzou 34-27 Mizzou 32-24
WKU (+7) at Kentucky WKU 14-10 WKU 21-17 WKU 24-20 Kentucky 20-10
UAB (+33) at S. Carolina S. Carolina 42-7 S. Carolina 34-13 S. Carolina 41-13 S. Carolina 38-0
FAU (+42.5) at Georgia Georgia 56-3 Georgia 41-10 Georgia 50-7 Georgia 38-3
Idaho (+43) at LSU LSU 63-3 LSU 48-3 LSU 52-3 LSU 48-3
Texas at Ole Miss (+9.5) Texas 31-7 Texas 38-17 Texas 38-10 Texas 20-10
Last Week: 6-5 8-3 9-2 7-4
Season Record: 17-6 20-3 20-3 19-4


by Mitch Light

@athlonmitch

 

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 2
Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 2 Heisman Contenders

Teaser:
<p> SEC Week 3 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/acc-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

With most of the teams in the ACC playing non-conference games, it was a relatively quiet Week 2 slate. The top three teams in the ACC - Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech - all won handily, while Virginia and NC State beat BCS competition. The stakes are on the rise in conference play this Saturday, as Florida State hosts Wake Forest and Virginia takes on Georgia Tech. The ACC also has a chance to earn a few solid non-conference wins, with North Carolina playing at Louisville and Maryland hosting Connecticut.

Other Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 3

1. Can Wake Forest upset Florida State?
Considering Florida State has beat Murray State and Savannah State through the first two weeks of the season, the Seminoles are still somewhat of a mystery. Wake Forest struggled in Week 1 against Liberty but upset North Carolina last Saturday. The Demon Deacons are dealing with a couple of injuries that could affect this week’s matchup, including nose guard Nikita Whitlock. Whitlock was ruled out for Saturday's game on Thursday night, which is a huge setback for Wake Forest’s defensive line, especially against an unproven and young Florida State offensive line. The Demon Deacons will need a big game from quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro, who will look to challenge unproven sophomore Nick Waisome at cornerback. However, just like Wake Forest will look to exploit Florida State’s offensive line, the Demon Deacons are largely untested up front, which is bad news against one of the nation’s top defensive lines. Wake Forest may hang around early, but Florida State shouldn’t be too concerned about an upset.

2. The return of Sammy Watkins
Clemson won’t need Sammy Watkins to beat Furman, but the Tigers are getting the sophomore back in the lineup at a crucial time. With Florida State up next, Clemson needs to get Watkins back into the flow of the offense and allow him to knock some of the rust off from the offseason. The Paladins are allowing 254 passing yards per game, so quarterback Tajh Boyd should have plenty of opportunities to hit Watkins for big plays. Don’t expect Watkins to play a ton of snaps in Week 3, but his return only adds another playmaker to the ACC’s No. 1 ranked offense after two games (527 yards).

3. Can Virginia Tech stop Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham?
It’s early in the season, but it’s a surprise to see Virginia Tech ranked 80th nationally against the run. Allowing 192 yards rushing to Georgia Tech in the opener wasn’t a surprise, but FCS opponent Austin Peay recorded 159 yards on the ground on 41 attempts last week. Although Pittsburgh is off to an 0-2 start, this is a team Virginia Tech should not take lightly. The Panthers have the Big East’s best stable of running backs, led by senior Ray Graham and freshman Rushel Shell. Graham isn’t fully recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last season, but he has 174 yards through two games. Shell was impressive in limited snaps last week, earning 31 yards on eight carries. The Hokies should be able to pull away in the second half, but if they struggle to stop Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, this game could be close in the fourth quarter.

4. Can North Carolina slow down Louisville’s passing attack?
With only two starters back and inexperienced players stepping into key roles, the Tar Heels had question marks about the secondary coming into the season. North Carolina allowed only 128 yards to Elon in the opener but was torched for 362 yards by Wake Forest last week. This unit will be under pressure once again on Saturday, as Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has completed 49 of 60 passes for 576 yards and two touchdowns through the first two weeks of 2012. The Cardinals also have a solid group of receivers, led by sophomores DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers. Although North Carolina’s offense should be able to move the ball on Louisville, if its secondary can’t stop Bridgewater, the Tar Heels will suffer back-to-back losses.

5. Will Giovani Bernard play for North Carolina?
One of the biggest surprises from last week’s games was the absence of North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. The sophomore wasn’t believed to be seriously injured in the win over Elon, but he did not play against Wake Forest. The Tar Heels managed 157 yards on the ground with Bernard on the sidelines, but there’s no doubt he was missed. The sophomore is participating in practice, and all signs seem to point to a return to the field on Saturday. Louisville will be tough to beat at home, and the Tar Heels need Bernard at full strength to win.

6. Key game in the ACC Coastal: Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
It’s only the second ACC game of the season for Georgia Tech, but it could have an impact on the Coastal Division race. With a loss to Virginia Tech in the opener, the Yellow Jackets can’t afford to drop to 0-2. The Cavaliers have yet to play an ACC game but with a win, can become the clear No. 1 challenger to the Hokies. These two teams have split the last four games, with Virginia winning 24-21 last season in Charlottesville. The key matchup to watch will be how well the Cavaliers can slow down Georgia Tech’s option attack. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 330.5 yards per game on the ground, but Virginia is giving up only 74.5 yards rushing per game. Georgia Tech won’t pass much but will try to hit a few big plays to keep the defense honest. With no go-to receiver for quarterback Tevin Washington, the Cavaliers should be able to focus their attention on stopping the option. Considering both teams are relatively even, don’t be surprised if a late turnover decides this game.

7. Must-win for Boston College?
For Frank Spaziani to return in 2013, the Eagles need to make a bowl game and finish with at least six victories. If Boston College wants to return to the postseason after missing out last year, the Eagles need to win on Saturday at Northwestern. With an upcoming schedule that features games against Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Maryland in October, Boston College doesn’t have much room for error. The Eagles will have their hands full against the Wildcats, especially as they try to stop an offense that is averaging 32.5 points a game.

8. Can Maryland’s offense move the ball against Connecticut?
While it hasn’t been pretty, Maryland is 2-0 and seems to be building confidence after beating Temple 36-27 last weekend. Much of the discussion for this week’s game between Maryland and Connecticut will center on Randy Edsall, who left Storrs to take over the Terrapins at the end of the 2010 season. While Edsall’s messy departure from Connecticut will be discussed, the real battle to focus on will be the Huskies defense against Maryland’s offense. Connecticut’s defense has allowed only 10 points through the first two weeks of the season and is averaging four sacks a game. The Terrapins are averaging only 285 yards per game, while freshman quarterback Perry Hills will be tested against a stingy Connecticut secondary. Allowing Hills the opportunity to make plays through the air is critical, but the Terrapins have to win the turnover battle. Considering both teams have struggled to move the ball on offense this year, look for a low-scoring game that could be decided on a last-minute field goal.

9. Miami and NC State get easy non-conference victories
Non-conference games against Bethune-Cookman and South Alabama are coming at the right time for Miami and NC State. The Hurricanes were thoroughly dominated in a 52-13 loss to Kansas State, while NC State is coming off a 10-7 win over Connecticut. Although the Wolfpack won last week, this team has a few areas to address, including an offensive line that is allowing 3.5 sacks per game. The Hurricanes have been awful on defense so far, and the opportunity to play against a FCS team should help build some confidence before ACC play starts again. Similar to Miami, NC State can use this week’s game and next (Citadel) to build some confidence and find a few answers on both sides of the ball.

10. Can Duke find a running game?
Developing a consistent rushing attack has been an issue for years at Duke. The Blue Devils' last 1,000-yard rusher was Chris Douglas in 2003, and the ground game isn’t off to a good start in 2012. Josh Snead leads the team with 52 yards on 11 attempts, while Juwan Thompson ranks second with 45 yards. In order for Duke to make a bowl game this year, the offense has to have better balance. Saturday’s opponent (NC Central) should allow the Blue Devils to work on the ground game, especially with ACC play opening up on Sept. 29 against Wake Forest.

ACC Week 3 Predictions

Week 3 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Wake Forest at Florida State FSU 28-21 FSU 38-17 FSU 34-13 FSU 30-17
Bethune-Cookman at Miami Miami 38-21 Miami 31-10 Miami 45-13 Miami 38-10
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh VT 42-21 VT 38-17 VT 34-13 VT 27-17
Connecticut at Maryland UConn 13-10 Maryland 17-10 UConn 20-17 UConn 13-10
Furman at Clemson Clemson 56-10 Clemson 45-13 Clemson 52-10 Clemson 44-7
Boston College at N'Western N'Western 31-17 N'Western 27-14 N'Western 31-24 N'Western 30-21
Virginia at Georgia Tech GT 21-14 GT 27-21 GT 27-24 GT 28-21
North Carolina at Louisville Louisville 27-13 Louisville 27-21 Louisville 31-27 Louisville 24-20
South Alabama at NC State NC State 35-7 NC State 31-7 NC State 44-13 NC State 41-10
NC Central at Duke Duke 28-10 Duke 31-10 Duke 41-7 Duke 37-13
Last Week: 9-2 10-1 9-2 8-3
Season Record: 18-3 20-1 18-3 18-3

 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 3 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Week 3 is not the most glamorous slate of action in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas is the only conference game, while Texas-Ole Miss is the only other matchup featuring two BCS teams. Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech play teams from non-AQ conferences, while West Virginia, Baylor and Iowa State have games against FCS foes. It's a light week of action, but there are still plenty of storylines and matchups to watch this Saturday.

Other Week 3 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 3

1. Will Oklahoma State bounce back after last week’s loss?
It’s tough enough to win on the road against a good team, but it’s nearly impossible to win when you commit 15 penalties and four turnovers. That’s the obstacle Oklahoma State had to overcome last Saturday against Arizona. The Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but Arizona followed that up with 30 unanswered points and eventually claimed a 59-38 victory. While the Cowboys are disappointed with the loss, the good news was true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt wasn’t intimidated. He completed 37 of 60 throws for 436 yards and four touchdowns. Louisiana-Lafayette visits Stillwater this Saturday, a team Oklahoma State defeated by 26 points in 2010 and 27 in 2011. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns won’t be an easy out, as they are off to a 2-0 start and return 12 starters from last season’s team that won nine games. Barring another game filled with turnovers and penalties, the Cowboys should comfortably win this one and with Texas coming up next (Sept. 29), it’s an important game to get Lunt and any of the new starters ready for Big 12 play.

2. How will David Ash fare on the road against Ole Miss?
So far, so good for Texas’ David Ash. The sophomore quarterback has completed 36 of 49 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games of the year. While the competition hasn’t been elite, Ash has made good decisions and is completing a high percentage of throws. The competition steps up this Saturday, as Texas travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss. The Rebels are improved under new coach Hugh Freeze, but the defense allowed 27 points to FCS opponent Central Arkansas in the opener and is giving up 260.5 passing yards per game. Ash has made only one road start in his career, throwing for 158 yards and one interception in a 17-5 loss to Missouri. With the Longhorns owning one of college football’s top defenses and a deep stable of running backs, Ash doesn’t need to have a monster performance for Texas to win on the ground. However, this is a key test for the Longhorns, especially with Big 12 play beginning on Sept. 29 at Oklahoma State.

3. TCU plays first Big 12 game
The Horned Frogs were impressive in a 56-0 rout over Grambling last Saturday. However, the competition steps up a notch this week, as TCU heads to Lawrence to open Big 12 play. It’s another historic moment for the school, especially after opening a renovated and impressive Amon G. Carter Stadium last week. The Horned Frogs are big favorites against Kansas, who was upset by Rice in Week 2. While it’s a new environment for TCU, it should have no trouble beating the Jayhawks, as they are allowing over 407 yards a game. The Horned Frogs’ offense should be able to move the ball at will against Kansas, but the key battle to watch will be on defense. TCU has only four returning starters back from last season, which should be put to the test with the Jayhawks averaging 229 rushing yards per game. Life in the Big 12 will be tougher than it was in the Mountain West, but expect TCU to open play in its new conference with a convincing win.

4. Will Dayne Crist get on track for Kansas?
Outside of last week’s loss to Rice, the biggest surprise at Kansas has been the play of quarterback Dayne Crist. Through two weeks, he has completed 33 of 64 throws for 313 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Although Crist wasn’t expected to challenge for All-America honors, his familiarity with Charlie Weis’ offense should have sparked the Kansas’ passing attack. Instead, the Jayhawks rank as the Big 12’s worst passing team through the first two weeks of the season and now face a TCU defense that allowed 26 passing yards to Grambling in the season opener. Crist doesn’t have a ton of playmakers at receiver, but he needs to play better for Kansas to have a chance to win this Saturday against the Horned Frogs.

5. Time for Geno Smith to pad the Heisman resume
West Virginia’s much-anticipated Big 12 opener isn’t until Sept. 29 against Baylor, so Geno Smith will have two more opportunities to shine in non-conference play, starting this Saturday against James Madison. Smith threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns against Marshall and checks in No. 2 in Athlon’s Heisman voting after the second week of the season. He should have no trouble matching those numbers against the Dukes, a team that allowed 277 passing yards to North Carolina’s Bryn Renner in the season opener last year. While James Madison is off to a 2-0 start, West Virginia’s offense has too much firepower and should pull away for an easy win. The most important aspect for the Mountaineers this week? Avoid injuries and continue to get comfortable with the new 3-4 scheme on defense.

6. What will Nick Florence do for an encore?
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence was nearly flawless in his debut, completing 21 of 30 throws for 341 yards and four touchdowns against SMU. The Bears have another non-conference game this Saturday, taking on FCS opponent Sam Houston State. The Bearkats are one of the better FCS teams but will have their hands full trying to slow down Florence and Baylor’s receivers. Florence won’t match Robert Griffin’s rushing stats at the end of the year, but he’s plenty capable of keeping the Bears in the mix for a finish in the top half of the Big 12. Expect the senior to have another big statistical showing on Saturday, while Baylor should cruise to its third consecutive 2-0 start under Art Briles.

7. One more non-conference game for Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech
Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech each look to close out their non-conference schedule with a perfect 3-0 slate. The Cyclones host FCS opponent Western Illinois, the Red Raiders take on New Mexico, while the Wildcats match up against North Texas. All three teams should win comfortably, but these matchups are all about staying healthy and getting as many snaps as possible for some of the new starters. Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz is off to a good start, but this game is a solid confidence-builder before taking on Texas Tech on Sept. 29. The Red Raiders seem to be improved on defense, but the competition has been soft. While the Lobos were shutout in a loss to Texas last week, this is another opportunity for Texas Tech to work out some of the kinks on defense before Big 12 play begins. Kansas State was impressive in a 52-13 blowout win over Miami (Fla.) last week and would like to keep the workload light on Saturday for quarterback Collin Klein. With Kansas State playing at Oklahoma next week, Klein needs to be 100 percent if the Wildcats want to have any shot at winning in Norman.

 

Week 3 Big 12 Predictions

Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
UL Lafayette (+22) at Okla. State Ok State 31-21 Ok State 41-21 Ok State 45-24 Ok State 44-28
TCU at Kansas (+21) TCU 35-10 TCU 35-17 TCU 38-13 TCU 34-13
James Madison vs. WVU WVU 63-7 WVU 51-10 WVU 58-7 WVU 44-17
North Texas (+28.5) at K-State K-State 31-10 K-State 49-10 K-State 38-10 K-State 31-10
New Mexico (+33.5) at Tex. Tech TTU 35-24 TTU 31-10 TTU 48-17 TTU 41-14
Sam Houston St. at Baylor Baylor 56-14 Baylor 41-13 Baylor 52-17 Baylor 48-10
Western Illinois at Iowa State ISU 31-7 ISU 34-10 ISU 45-3 ISU 37-7
Texas at Ole Miss (+10) Texas 31-7 Texas 38-17 Texas 38-10 Texas 20-10
Last Week: 6-2 5-3 5-3 6-2
Season Record: 15-2 14-3 14-3 15-2


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

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Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Week 3 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-3-upset-predictions
Body:

There were few upset picks that jumped out on the Vegas lines early last week, but there's a handful of intriguing college football upset possibilities for Week 3. Utah State upset Utah last Friday night and should give Wisconsin all it can handle. Ball State, Notre Dame and Memphis are popular picks with Athlon's editors for this week, while Western Kentucky against Kentucky is another matchup to watch.

College Football's Week 3 Upset Picks

David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+4) at Utah
Utah is adapting to a career-ending shoulder injury to quarterback Jordan Wynn, the second time in two seasons the Utes have turned to backup Jon Hays. Perhaps I’m a little over optimistic, but I have trouble seeing Utah fall to third in the state after losing to Utah State a week ago Last season, Jon Hays was uneven in stepping in for Wynn, but he mistakes were fewer as the season went on and Utah was a realistic threat to represent the South in the Pac-12 title game. Wynn threw six interceptions in his first two conference starts (against Washington and Cal), but he threw only one more pick the rest of the season as Utah took the burden off his shoulder sand put it on John White’s. Travis Wilson, a 6-7 highly regarded freshman, could also be a nice change of pace at quarterback. I’m also not totally bought into BYU, whose best days last season came against some weak competition. The same could be said for BYU’s season-opening win over Washington State I’m sticking with the home underdog here.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Ball State (+2.5) at Indiana
I’m tempted to take Western Kentucky to beat Kentucky, but I think Ball State picks off Indiana for the second year in a row. The Cardinals knocked off the Hoosiers 27-20 in the season opener last season and are just under a three-point underdog. Ball State won its opener against Eastern Michigan but fell in Week 2 to Clemson. Indiana is improving under second-year coach Kevin Wilson, but the Hoosiers suffered a setback with the loss of quarterback Tre Roberson for the season in the win over UMass last week. Expect a lot of points between these two teams, but I have to give an edge to Ball State, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Indiana's quarterback situation. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Utah State (+14) over Wisconsin
One team is fresh off one of its best wins in school history. The other must regroup after a surprising loss on the road. Utah State snapped a 12-game losing streak to hated rival Utah, knocking off the Utes, 27–20, in overtime Friday night. Meanwhile, Wisconsin managed a total of 207 yards of total offense — including a shocking 35 on the ground — in a 10–7 loss at Oregon State. Danny O’Brien hasn’t been very Russell Wilson-like at quarterback, and Monte Ball, the nation’s leading rusher last season, has netted only 181 yards and one touchdown on 47 carries. Last week, Utah State did a solid job against John White, limiting the Utes’ senior tailback to 96 yards on 27 carries (3.6 per). If the Aggies can keep Ball from going crazy — which he hasn’t done yet this year — they’ve got a decent chance to escape Madison with a win. Utah State 24, Wisconsin 23

Mark Ross: Memphis (+3.5) over Middle Tennessee State
Yes, MTSU has made it into the win column, something Memphis has yet to do this season, but I think that changes on Saturday night at home in the Liberty Bowl as these two in-state mid-majors meet. Both teams lost their season openers to FCS teams at home and even though MTSU beat FAU last Saturday, I would make the argument that Memphis showed more improvement in its loss to Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are the favorites to repeat as champions of the Sun Belt, which is also MTSU's conference, and they needed a late touchdown to hold off the Tigers, 33-28, in Jonesboro, Ark. MTSU is nowhere near as explosive on offense as Arkansas State is, so I think Memphis will be able to hang with the Blue Raiders throughout the game. The Tigers will then make the big play or two that matters most in the fourth quarter, earning Tigers head coach Justin Fuente his first career victory.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Notre Dame (+6) over Michigan State
Road dogs Ohio and Iowa State were winners in the first two weeks, and I’m going for another one in Week 3 with Notre Dame to upset Michigan State in East Lansing. Purdue stacked the box against the Irish and dared quarterback Everett Golson to throw, and he responded with 289 passing yards while accounting for two touchdowns. On defense, Notre Dame’s strength — the front seven — should match up well with Michigan State power running game. The Irish won the rushing battle in last year’s 31-13 win, and the Spartans do not have Kirk Cousins to sling it around this season. This game should be close late, but I’ll take the big play ability of the Irish to surprise the Spartans, 24-23.

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Ranking College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 2

Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 3 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:48
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-3-sit-or-start
Body:

Starting next week, conference play will start dominating the schedule.  Therefore, you must take advantage of the mismatches littering the schedule this week.  Still, there are some tough calls and we’re here to help you with some additional insight.

Start

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA vs Houston

The dual-threat freshman quarterback should be a must-start in what figures to be a fantasy-rich contest between the Bruins and Cougars.

Terrence Owens, QB-Toledo vs Bowling Green

Owens was awarded the starting job last week and responded with a three-touchdown, 300-yard performance in a win at Wyoming.

Colby Cameron, QB-Louisiana Tech vs Rice

Cameron was 34 of 52 for 353 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s track meet at Houston.  Expect much of the same this weekend when the Owls visit Ruston.

Ryan Nassib, QB-Syracuse vsStony Brook

Nassib has thrown for 806 yards and six touchdowns in back-to-back games against Northwestern and USC.  This week, the competition gets much easier when Stony Brook comes into the Carrier Dome.

Logan Thomas, QB-Virginia Tech at Pitt

We’re expecting Thomas to put together a solid dual-threat performance against a struggling Pitt defense that has given up 30-plus points in both games this season.

Casey Pachall, QB-TCU at Kansas

Pachall was a perfect 9-for-9 for 201 yards and three touchdowns last week against Grambling State.  He should get a lot more playing time this week on the road at Kansas and receiver Skye Dawson should return to compliment Josh Boyce on the outside.

Jahwan Edwards, RB-Ball St at Indiana

After losing starting quarterback Tre Roberson for the season, it will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers respond to sophomore Cameron Coffman under center.  Either way, expect Edwards to shoulder the load for the Cardinals on the road.

Nathan Jeffery, RB-UTEP vs New Mexico St

If we knew that Jeffery would be 100%, he would be in our top ten.  However, you can never be sure with college injuries, but Jeffery has practiced and should be ready to roll.

Joe Bergeron, RB-Texas at Ole Miss

The sophomore running back is making the most of his carries and should get a heavier workload this week on the road at Ole Miss.

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern vs Northwestern

After rushing for 123 yards last week against Vanderbilt, Mark has become a must-start in deeper leagues.

George Winn, RB-Cincinnati, vs Delaware St

Winn flew under the radar last Saturday because of Cincinnati’s Week One bye.  This week, he’ll fly into a lot of starting roster spots.

Jarred Salubi, RB-Baylor vs Sam Houston St

Baylor had a bye last week, but don’t forget about Salubi’s 91-yard performance against SMU in Week One.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M at SMU

Get used to the freshman quarterback-receiver combination of Johnny Manziel-to-Mike Evans in College Station.

Matt Miller, WR-Boise St vs Miami, OH

After a rough opening game at Michigan State and a bye week, the Broncos offense should start taking form.
 

Bench

Kolton Browning, UL-Monroe at Auburn

Can Browning come close to duplicating is 38-point Week Two?  We’re not willing to risk our Week Three on it.

Rio Johnson, QB-ECU at Southern Miss

After two starts, Johnson has thrown four interceptions and could get a quick hook if he struggles early at Southern Miss.

Bo Wallace, QB-Ole Miss vs Texas

The sophomore quarterback has accounted for seven touchdowns so far, but the Longhorns will be a much tougher test than Central Arkansas and UTEP.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas vs Alabama

Too many other good matchups around the country to settle for average production from your top back.

Garrett Gilbert, QB-SMU vs Texas A&M

Gilbert has only completed 55.8% of his passes this season and that percentage won’t improve much this weekend against the Aggies.

Kedrick Rhodes, RB-FIU at Central Florida

Losing carries last week to Darian Mallary has fantasy owners second-guessing themselves this week.  Play it safe and look elsewhere.

Isi Sofele, RB-Cal at Ohio St

The Buckeyes only surrendered 103 rushing yards to Central Florida and held Miami, Ohio to negative-one yard rushing in the opener.

Tony Pierson, RB-Kansas vs TCU

Pierson has topped 100 yards in each of the first two weeks, but South Dakota State and Rice are no longer on the schedule.

Cameron Marshall, RB-Arizona St at Missouri

Marshall is still scoring touchdowns, but we’re losing confidence in his ability to churn out the yards and hold off freshman D.J. Foster.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy vs Mississippi State

Southward’s value will be much greater in weeks four and five when the Trojans play North Texas and South Alabama.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs Portland State

The Huskies are going to do whatever they can to establish a running game, but we’re not quite sure that they have one.

Keenan Davis, WR-Iowa vs Northern Iowa

The Hawkeyes’ offense goes through running back Damon Bullock.  Quarterback James Vandenberg has only completed 54% of his passes.

 

 

Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 3 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 04:16
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-joins-acc-what-does-it-mean-college-football
Body:

Notre Dame is set to join the ACC. Well, sort of. The Irish will be leaving the Big East to join the ACC as a partial member. Maintaining its football independence was crucial for Notre Dame, and this deal allows it to continue that, as well as join a conference with more stability on the football side of things. The Irish will likely join in time for the 2015-2016 season but could negotiate an early exit from the Big East.

As part of the move, Notre Dame will play five games against ACC teams each season and will be a part of the conference's bowl selection process.  

Notre Dame Joins ACC - What Does It Mean For College Football?

1. Notre Dame will remain Independent
The Irish have no desire to join a conference and this move solidifies their independence for the foreseeable future. Scheduling was a big concern for Notre Dame, especially as more conferences move to a 9-game schedule. However, this move provides the Fighting Irish with at least five games a year against ACC teams, and allows the program to keep its traditional games against USC, Navy and Stanford, as well as schedule Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue from the Big Ten. If Notre Dame wants to join a conference as a full-time football member, there’s no question the ACC will welcome the Irish as its 15th team and expand to get to 16. The odds of that happening anytime soon are slim, but at least Notre Dame has a viable option and has a perfect setup to remain independent as long as it would like.

2. The ACC’s future is secure
Remember those rumors about Clemson and Florida State joining the Big 12? Well, it’s not happening anytime soon. In addition to bringing Notre Dame aboard, the ACC’s exit fee is now $50 million. If a school really wanted to leave, that number could be negotiated, but it’s hard to envision any school coming up with $50 million to leave. The ACC is also expected to renegotiate its television contract, which should help boost the yearly revenue for all 14 football members for 2013 and beyond. With that hefty price tag, the ACC’s future is secure, and the rumors about Florida State and Clemson leaving for the Big 12 are done. Which brings up the next point…

3. College Football realignment…is it over?
Perhaps one of the biggest storylines out of Notre Dame’s move to the ACC is what happens with future realignment. The Big 12 seems to be content at 10 teams, but if it had any interest in luring Clemson and Florida State to the league, those hopes are over - at least for the immediate future. With a hefty exit fee, neither team will be leaving the ACC, dealing a setback to Big 12 if it wants to expand in the future. While this limits the pool of expansion candidates for the Big 12, it could help teams like Louisville, Cincinnati or even BYU if the conference decides to expand. We may see another round of realignment in the next five years, but with options on the West Coast dwindling for the Pac-12 and no logical candidates for the Big Ten, don’t expect to see any 16-team superconferences anytime soon.

4. The Big East isn’t going anywhere
While losing Notre Dame’s non-football sports certainly hurts the Big East, this does nothing to devalue its football product. The Irish played only one Big East team in 2010 and 2011, so it’s not like the conference was benefitting that much from having them involved. Notre Dame might have helped the conference secure better bowls, but the Irish were often selected over teams from the Big East in marquee games. Yes, losing Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse was a blow to the Big East, but the conference is bringing in Boise State – an annual top 15 team in recent years – as well as programs with upside: UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis and San Diego State. And who knows, maybe the conference can give BYU another call to become its 14th football member?

5. ACC’s bowl prospects get better
One look at the bowl schedule for this year has a glaring question mark: Where does Notre Dame fit in? The Irish have no tie-in for this year, which had to be a concern for future seasons and helped to factor into the move to the ACC. Adding Notre Dame to the bowl lineup will only help the ACC when the next round of tie-ins is completed. The Irish are also a part of the pool to be chosen for the ACC’s Orange Bowl opponent. While there could be some frustration from some ACC teams when Notre Dame is selected ahead of them in bowl process, having the Irish should help this conference upgrade its tie-ins for the future.

 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 2
Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

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Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Notre Dame Joins ACC; What Does It Mean For College Football?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 15:14
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-2-rankings
Body:

Week 2 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips and Boston College's Frank Spaziani won last Saturday, but both coaches rank as the top two on the hot seat going into Week 3. Auburn's Gene Chizik and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz are ranked for the first time in 2012, while Arkansas' John L. Smith makes an appearance after the Hogs' stunning overtime home loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Despite earning his first win of 2012, Phillips maintains the No. 1 ranking in Athlon’s coaches on the hot seat. The Wildcats fell behind 7-0 to Kent State but scored 17 unanswered in the first half to claim a 47-14 victory. Kentucky’s offense has shown some signs of life through two weeks, averaging 30.5 points and 456 yards per game. The next couple of games represent a crucial stretch in Phillips’ tenure, as the Wildcats host in-state foe Western Kentucky on Saturday and travel to Florida the following week. Kentucky can’t afford to lose to the Hilltoppers, while it’s also important for this team to show some progress against SEC competition.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Boston College: 21-20 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Just like Joker Phillips, Spaziani is coming off his first win of 2012 but holds steady in his ranking from last week. The Eagles easily defeated Maine 34-3 in Week 2, giving Spaziani a 21-20 record in his tenure as Boston College’s head coach. If the Eagles want to make a bowl game, beating Northwestern this Saturday is a necessity. With conference games coming up against Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, Boston College could be looking at a 2-5 record before its final five games of 2012.

3. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Enos and Central Michigan missed a prime upset opportunity on Saturday. The Chippewas hosted in-state foe Michigan State, but the outcome was never in doubt. The Spartans dominated from the opening snap and cruised to a 41-7 victory. Central Michigan’s offense never got on track, and the defense allowed Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to throw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in his second start. The Chippewas have lost seven out of their last nine games, with the only wins coming against Akron (one of the worst FBS teams last year) and Southeast Missouri State (a FCS opponent).

4. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at MTSU: 36-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
After a bad showing in the opener against McNeese State, the Blue Raiders bounced back with a 31-17 victory over FAU in Week 2. The victory was enough to move Stockstill down a spot in the rankings, however, MTSU’s road won’t get any easier over the next few weeks. The Blue Raiders have road games at Memphis and Georgia Tech, while Louisiana-Monroe visits Murfreesboro on Oct. 6. MTSU has enough talent in the program to push for a winning record, but the Blue Raiders are a disappointing 1-7 in its last eight games.

5. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 4-23 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
After showing signs of progress in the opener against Minnesota, the Rebels took a step back with a loss to FCS opponent Northern Arizona in Week 2. UNLV has not won a game since Oct. 29 of last season and has just four wins under Hauck’s watch. The third-year coach is starting to feel the heat from the fan base and needs to have a good showing against Washington State on Friday night. The cupboard was far from full when Hauck took over in Las Vegas. However, it’s time for the Rebels to show some progress.

6. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Colorado: 3-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
Similar to UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, Embree did not inherit a great situation when he arrived at Colorado. The Buffaloes were coming off five losing seasons and the talent level was not where it needed to be to compete in the Pac-12. Although Embree can’t be blamed for all of the issues, Colorado is off to an 0-2 start, including a loss to in-state rival Colorado State and FCS opponent Sacramento State this year. The Buffaloes had to replace some key personnel from last season, but there hasn’t been much improvement from this team from 2011. Making matters worse is the remaining 2012 schedule, which features Fresno State, Washington State, UCLA, Arizona State and USC as its next five games. Unless Colorado pulls off an upset, it could be looking at an 0-12 record at the end of November.

7. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at California: 80-49 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Golden Bears broke into the win column with a 50-31 win over Southern Utah on Saturday. While it was a victory, there were a lot of anxious moments for California, especially when the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 3-0 lead and cut the Golden Bears’ lead to 20-17 early in the third quarter. While California had a good rebound from losing its season opener, the schedule only gets tougher from here, starting with Saturday’s game at Ohio State.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Idaho: 19-45 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A week after dropping a disappointing 20-3 opener to Eastern Washington, the Vandals showed some signs of life in a 21-13 loss to Bowling Green. Quarterback Dominique Blackman threw for 352 yards and one touchdown in his first start, while the defense held the Falcons to 90 rushing yards and forced two turnovers. Unfortunately for Idaho, it faces an uphill battle to earn its first win this season in Week 3. With a trip to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, the Vandals are huge underdogs and need to make it through this matchup without any injuries to attempt a run at a winning record in WAC play. Akey has a tough job, especially as Idaho faces an uncertain future on the FBS level. However, the Vandals need to show progress on the field, which would help make the program more attractive for future Mountain West expansion.

9. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at Rice: 24-39 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
In one of the most surprising games from Week 2, Bailiff led Rice to a 25-24 upset over Kansas. The win over the Jayhawks was the Owls’ second victory over a team from a BCS conference in the last two years and should give Rice momentum heading into its Conference USA slate. The win should help Bailiff’s prospects of sticking around for another year, but his fate will largely be determined from what happens in conference play. The West Division is wide open and considering the Owls have shown promise through the first two weeks, Rice could make some noise in C-USA.

10. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Houston: 1-2
2012 Record: 0-2
After a disastrous debut, Levine and the Cougars had a better showing in the Week 2 loss to Louisiana Tech. Houston’s offense recorded 693 yards and six touchdowns, but the defense allowed the Bulldogs to post 598 yards of total offense, while scoring 56 points. Firing Mike Nesbitt as offensive coordinator appears to have been the right move, but the defense has to be better if Houston wants to repeat as Conference USA West Division champs. The Cougars travel to Los Angeles to play UCLA this Saturday.  

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at Maryland: 4-10 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
The first two games of the year haven’t been pretty, but Maryland has already matched last season’s win total (2). After a sluggish performance in the opener against William & Mary, the Terrapins’ offense played better against Temple, especially in the case of true freshman quarterback Perry Hills. The defense also played a large role in the win over the Owls, recording three turnovers and allowing only 52 rushing yards. Edsall’s seat has cooled thanks to the 2-0 record, but the Terrapins are far from a perfect team. Expect plenty of hot seat and dream job talk this week, especially as Edsall’s old team (Connecticut) visits College Park on Saturday.

12. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Texas Tech: 15-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Tuberville has dropped in the weekly hot seat watch over the last two weeks. A 2-0 start certainly helps, while Texas Tech has shown improvement on defense – yes, the competition wasn’t great – but the Red Raiders are allowing just 177 yards per game so far. Tuberville should cruise to a 3-0 record this Saturday, as Texas Tech hosts New Mexico in its final non-conference game of the season.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Auburn: 30-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A disappointing 0-2 start and an overall lack of improvement from 2011 to 2012 has placed Chizik squarely on the hot seat. Auburn is just 8-7 since winning the 2010 national championship, and Chizik’s overall record at Auburn without Cam Newton is a pedestrian 16-12. The Tigers face upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday, and the schedule only gets more difficult the rest of the way, especially with games against LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia remaining.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Syracuse: 17-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A case could be made the Orange are the best 0-2 team in college football, but Marrone needs wins to show the program is headed in the right direction before joining the ACC in 2013. Syracuse lost 42-41 in the opener against Northwestern and gave USC all it could handle in a 42-29 defeat. The Orange should break into the win column against Stony Brook this Saturday and could be favored to beat Minnesota and Pittsburgh in the next two games.  

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 97-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Is Iowa on the decline? That’s the big question facing Ferentz after a 1-1 start, which saw the Hawkeyes lose to in-state rival Iowa State for the second time in two seasons. Since winning 11 games in 2009, the Hawkeyes are only 16-12 and the offense has been one of the worst in the Big Ten through the first two games. Iowa ranks 12th in the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, while quarterback James Vandenberg is only averaging 175 yards passing per game. The good news for Iowa is Northern Iowa and Central Michigan are the next two opponents, which should allow the Hawkeyes to be 3-1 before the Big Ten opener against Minnesota. Ferentz has led Iowa to 10 bowl games, but there’s plenty of grumbling around the program after losing to Iowa State for consecutive seasons.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Quinn’s record is 1-1, but the Bulls have to be pleased with their start to 2012. Buffalo hung tough in a 45-23 loss to Georgia and beat Morgan State 56-34 in Week 2. The Bulls have one of the nation’s most underrated running backs in Branden Oliver, who is averaging 174.5 rushing yards per game. It will be tough for Quinn to have a winning record at the end of 2012, but Buffalo should be more competitive in MAC play.

17. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at UCF: 51-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
UCF didn’t beat Ohio State, but there was really nothing shameful about losing 31-16 on the road in Columbus. The Knights have a tough two-game stretch upcoming, as they take on in-state rival FIU in Week 3 and Missouri in Week 5. UCF is still the favorite to win Conference USA’s East Division, but a collapse in the second half of the season would likely spell the end of O’Leary’s tenure.

18. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at New Mexico State: 10-30 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
New Mexico State is one of the toughest jobs in college football, so it has been no surprise that progress has been slow under Walker. The Aggies have won only 10 games under his watch, but are off to a 1-1 start in 2012. New Mexico State could push for a winning record this season, especially if quarterback Andrew Manley continues to develop into an All-WAC honors candidate. The upcoming schedule isn’t too difficult and considering New Mexico State’s uncertain future at the FBS level, it would be a surprise if Walker is fired at the end of 2012.

19. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Western Michigan: 48-40 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Broncos have two more chances to knock off BCS competition this season, before opening up conference play against Toledo on Sept. 29. Western Michigan has defeated four BCS teams under Cubit’s watch during the regular season and could make it six with winnable games against Minnesota and Connecticut upcoming. Even if the Broncos lose both games, the biggest obstacle to another year for Cubit in Kalamazoo will be what happens in MAC play. Western Michigan is favored to win the MAC West but has struggled to reach expectations in previous years.

20. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Tennessee: 13-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Dooley has dropped from No. 3 in Athlon’s post-fall practice rankings to No. 20 in just two weeks. Tennessee has started off 2012 on the right foot, beating NC State in the opener and easily handling Georgia State in Week 2. Despite his 2-0 start, this week’s game against Florida is no doubt a bigger challenge for Dooley. If the Volunteers struggle or lose, he will shoot back into the top 10 of the rankings. However, should Tennessee win, it might be time to consider Dooley’s team a contender in the SEC East.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Arkansas: 1-1 (1st season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Since Smith is on a one-year deal, there wasn’t much expectation for him to retain the job in 2013. However, losing to Louisiana-Monroe certainly isn’t what Arkansas envisioned when he returned to Fayetteville for 2012 following the unexpected dismissal of Bobby Petrino. Barring a complete implosion by the Razorbacks, Smith will stay on as Arkansas’ head coach for the remainder of this season.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

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SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:32
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-2-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only two weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 2 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 2 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Utah vs. Colorado State
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. Nevada
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. Connecticut
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Washington vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Purdue vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Marshall* vs. Vanderbilt*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Baylor
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East South Florida vs. NC State
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 TCU vs. Iowa
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Houston vs. Wyoming
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. California
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Rutgers vs. Notre Dame
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. Kansas State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. Illinois
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Miami (Fla.) vs. Arkansas
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Virginia
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Missouri
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Florida
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Texas Tech* vs. Northwestern
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Nebraska
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Michigan
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten South Carolina vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. Miss. State
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Auburn vs. Louisiana Tech*
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan State vs. Oregon
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Texas
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Oklahoma vs. Clemson
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS USC vs. Alabama


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 12, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
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Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

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Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:21
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/which-new-college-football-coach-has-been-most-impressive-through-two-games
Body:

There were 28 college football teams with a new coach this year, and the results have been mixed so far. UCLA's Jim Mora, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez and Ohio State's Urban Meyer are each off to great starts, while Houston's Tony Levine and Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst are a disappointing 0-2. There's still a long way to go this season, but Athlon's editors (and former coach Don James) discussed which first-year coach has been the most impressive through the first two games. 

Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?

 

Coach Don James, former head coach of the Washington Huskies, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Jimmy Mora at UCLA. I coached him and I followed him through his career. He’s off to a good start. There’s always been some question about him UCLA, but he’s off to a decent start. He spent most of his career in the NFL. In the NFL, it’s pure football. When you have 16-hour days in the NFL, you’re focused on football. When we had 16-hour days [in college] we were doing everything else: Recruiting and academics. Jim always had an excellent football knowledge. A lot of his early success has to do with his hires. He’s got a guy with two Super Bowl rings [former Steelers assistant Lou Spanos, UCLA’s defensive coordinator] and he’s got some guys who have recruited in college. This isn’t a secret, they had a deal where the seniors had a day off and [Mora] stopped that right away. I think that’s made a big difference. You set a set of rules and start living up to that. If you don’t want to be committed to these rules go do something else. It will impact more of the recruiting because they’ll pick your school because they believe in what you believe.

 

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Based on what games I’ve picked already this season, I’d have to say Rich Rodriguez at Arizona has been the most surprising first-year coach. I picked the Wildcats to lose both to Toledo and Oklahoma State at home this season, and they’ve won both. Rodriguez is a notorious slow starter in his first season at a coaching job, but that doesn’t seem to be plaguing him at Arizona. The Wildcats rolled up 624 yards of offense (though accounted for only 24 points) against Toledo and 501 yards against the defending Big 12 champions. Most impressive in that Oklahoma State game was the lack of turnovers against a ballhawking Cowboys’ D and only a week after Arizona had three turnovers against the Rockets. Going into the season, I didn’t peg Arizona as bowl team, but it looks like that may be in the plans for Rodriguez’s debut season.

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s still a long way to go in the 2012 season, but it’s hard to pick against Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez or UCLA’s Jim Mora for the job they have done so far. The Bruins have given up some yards on defense, but the offense has been one of the best in the nation, and this team finally looks ready to realize its potential. UCLA has always had talent, but the results haven’t always been there. The Wildcats were picked to finish around .500 by most, however, this team could challenge for eight wins, especially after pulling off an upset over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Since Rodriguez and Mora are the two obvious choices, it’s worth highlighting a couple of other coaches that have been impressive early, including Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Arizona State’s Todd Graham and despite the loss on Saturday, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
There really are only two possible answers to this question, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Jim Mora at UCLA. I’ll give the slight edge to Mora because the Bruins have faced a more difficult schedule, winning at Rice (which won at Kansas) and beating a solid Nebraska team. UCLA has been terrific on offense, averaging a staggering 649.5 yards and 42.5 points. In the win over Nebraska, the Bruins topped 300 yards both passing and rushing, with quarterback Brett Hundley (305 yards passing) and tailback Johnathan Franklin (217 yards rushing) leading the way. UCLA has long been considered a sleeping giant in the Pac-12. Maybe the Bruins are waking up.

 

Mark Ross
How far has Arizona come under Rich Rodriguez? Look no further than last Saturday's upset of then-No. 18 ranked Oklahoma State. Last season, the Cowboys defeated the Wildcats 37-14 as they piled up nearly 600 yards of offense. This time around in Tuscon, Oklahoma State was certainly able to move the ball against Arizona's defense, to the tune of 636 total yards, but the Pokes also turned the ball over four times. OSU's defense also had just as much trouble stopping Arizona's offense, as the Wildcats amassed more than 500 yards and, more importantly, out-scored the Cowboys 59-38 to move to 2-0 on the season. The defense will be an issue, especially as 'Zona moves deeper into Pac-12 play, but Rodriguez' zone-read option offense should cause opponents enough headaches of its own, giving Arizona a chance to do something this season it wasn't able to do in 2011 — win more games than it lost.

 

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The answer is UCLA’s Jim Mora, and the margin is wide. The Bruins have struggled mightily to find a solution at quarterback over the last few seasons, and Mora’s hire of veteran offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone seems to be working wonders for new signal caller Brett Hundley. The redshirt freshman threw for 305 yards and four touchdown passes in the Nebraska victory on Saturday. Hundley also added 53 yards rushing and did not throw an interception in that fan-base reenergizing win. Of course a running game can be the best friend of any young quarterback, and tailback Johnathan Franklin leads the nation in rushing with 431 yards. While the Bruins still have plenty to fix on defense before a challenging Pac-12 slate, Mora already has a signature victory and has shown significant program improvement just two weeks into UCLA’s 2012 campaign.
 

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College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/florida-tennessee-rivalry-becoming-nationally-relevant-again
Body:

With most teams still playing non-conference opponents, Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is another light slate of games. However, there are a few must-watch games, including the Florida-Tennessee matchup. This rivalry was one of the best in the SEC in the 1990s and early 2000s, however, both teams have slipped in performance and this game hasn't meant as much. Could 2012 be the start of this rivalry reclaiming its spot as one of the most important in college football?

Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Nationally Relevant Once Again?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The answer is no. The only reason this game has taken on additional prominence is because Arkansas couldn’t stop Kolton Browning and Louisiana-Monroe last week. There was a time when Florida-Tennessee determined the SEC East champion and a potential BCS team. Despite strides by both teams in the first two weeks of the season, I can’t imagine this matchup will do anything more than determine a participant in the Outback Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl. This won’t even be the most nationally relevant game in the SEC East this season (that belongs to South Carolina-Georgia), never mind the rest of the league or the rest of the country.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
This rivalry is starting to regain some of its intrigue that the SEC experienced in the 1990s, but I’m not ready to say it is nationally relevant. There’s not many marquee games this week, so it definitely helps the rivalry to be on a stage with little competition from the rest of the top 25. Both teams are off to a solid start, but neither appears to have what it takes (so far) to beat out Georgia or South Carolina for the East title. For this rivalry to reclaim its spot as one of the best in the SEC, both teams need to be ranked a little higher and come into the season with higher expectations. While Florida and Tennessee each have a solid win this season and this is a key game for SEC East positioning, this rivalry would become more nationally relevant if both teams can sustain its success, rather than struggling to crack the top 25 or seven wins each year. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It’s definitely relevant this season, but it’s a bit premature to make the claim that this series will once again take on national significance on an annual basis. Both teams are off to a solid start, but there is no guarantee that Tennessee and/or Florida will return to elite status this season or any time soon. There is some positive momentum with each program, but it’s quite possible that these are still the third and fourth best teams in the East behind Georgia and South Carolina. 

Mark Ross
It's funny how quickly things change, isn't it? About a month ago if you had asked this question I am pretty sure you would have gotten different answers than now. That said, it certainly helps that both teams are 2-0 and each have already scored impressive victories of their own headed into Saturday's "showdown" in Knoxville, Tenn. However, this is the first time since 2007 both teams will be ranked when they play each other, and perhaps even more telling, it's still not CBS' national SEC Game of the Week on Saturday. That distinction belongs to Alabama at Arkansas. That alone speaks volumes to me about the current national perception of this rivalry. It will always be an important game to fans of each school and the SEC East division race, but it's just not where it used to be, not yet. Considering both teams' recent struggles and the uncertainty surrounding them headed into this season, I would go so far as to say both coaching staffs and fan bases are just happy we are even asking this question.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The annual Vols-Gators game is becoming a big deal once again, although each program must get back in the top ten for this mid-September clash to have its former “Game of the Year” feel from the 1990s. Both teams have gone through a major transition over the last two seasons, with regime changes affecting their win-loss record significantly. Florida lost 11 games between Urban Meyer’s final season and Will Muschamp’s debut last year, while Tennessee dropped a school-record 14 contests in Derek Dooley’s first two years while he tried to repair a program severely depleted by the end of the Fulmer era and a mostly-wasted recruiting class with Lane Kiffin. By contrast, both the Vols and Gators lost only 23 times each in the decade from 1992-2001 when this game was must-see TV. However with both teams ranked and ESPN’s Gameday on the way to Rocky Top, this year’s battle is rekindling the classic SEC East rivalry.

 

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College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Becoming Nationally Relevant Again?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:04
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-3-plays
Body:

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 3

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Houston at UCLA

Line:  UCLA -17(O/U-74)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCLA 46-28

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims, WR-Daniel Spencer)

UCLA (QB-Brett Hundley, RB-Johnathan Franklin)

Also consider:

Houston (WR-Dewayne Peace, K-Matt Hogan)

UCLA (WR-Joseph Fauria, K-Ka’imi Fairbairn)

theCFFsite projects:  UCLA 41-31

 

Louisiana at Oklahoma State

Line:  Oklahoma St -22(O/U-73)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 42-28

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-Wes Lunt, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore,  K-Quinn Sharp)

Louisiana (QB-Blaine Gautier, RB-Alonzo Harris, WR-Javone Lawson)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart)

Louisiana (TE-Jacob Maxwell, K-Brett Baer)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 41-20

 

Ohio at Marshall

Line:  Ohio -6.5(O/U-67)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio 37-30

Best plays:

Ohio (QB-Tyler Tettleton, RB-Beau Blankenship, K-Matt Weller)

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WR-Aaron Dobson)

Also consider:

Ohio (WR-Donte Foster)

Marshall (RB-Travon Van, WR-Antavious Wilson)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio 35-24
 

Arkansas State at Nebraska

Line:  Nebraska -24.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Nebraska 46-22

Best plays:

Arkansas St (QB-Ryan Aplin, RB-David Oku, WR-Josh Jarboe)

Nebraska (QB-Taylor Martinez, RB-Ameer Abdullah, K-Brett Maher)

Also consider:

Arkansas St (WR-JD McKissic)

Nebraska (WR-Kenny Bell, TE-Kyler Reed)

theCFFsite projects:  Nebraska 52-28

 

Rice at Louisiana Tech

Line:  Louisiana Tech -20.5(O/U-65.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LA Tech 43-23

Best plays:

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor, K-Chris Boswell)

Louisiana Tech (QB-Colby Cameron, WRs-Myles White, Quinton Patton, K-Matt Nelson)

Also consider:

Rice (WRs-Sam McGuffie, TE-Luke Willson)

Louisiana Tech (RBs-Tevin King, Kenneth Dixon)

theCFFsite projects:  LA Tech 45-28

 

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Massachusetts at Michigan

Line:  Michigan -45.5(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan 51-5

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan 52-10

 

Florida Atlantic at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -43.5(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 48-5

Stay away from:

FAU (WR-Byron Hankerson)

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 56-6
 

Idaho at LSU

Line:  LSU -42.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LSU 49-6

Stay away from:

Idaho (QB-Dominique Blackman)

theCFFsite projects:  LSU 45-3
 

South Alabama at North Carolina State

Line:  North Carolina St -31.5(O/U-50)

Projected score based on point spread:  NC St 40-9

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  NC St 42-7

 

UAB at South Carolina

Line:  South Carolina -33.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 44-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 49-14
 

Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

USC at Stanford

Line:  USC -9(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 33-24

Outlook:  Stanford may keep it close for a half, but receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods will eventually make enough plays to put this one out of reach.

theCFFsite projects:  USC 38-21

 

Florida at Tennessee

Line:  Tennessee -3(O/U-47)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tennessee 25-22

Outlook:  Florida did enough last week to slow down the Aggies in College Station, but the big-play potential of receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson will prove too challenging for the Florida defense.

theCFFsite projects:  Tennessee 31-21

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-1)  ATS: (3-3)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)

 

 

By:  Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

 

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 3 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 04:04
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-surprises-after-two-weeks
Body:

Only two weeks of the 2012 college football season are in the books, but there has been plenty of action so far. After two weeks, Athlon runs down 10 surprises, including Pac-12 teams UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State. There's still plenty of time for our opinion to change on these teams/players/units over the next few weeks, but here are 10 things that caught our attention through two games.

College Football's Top 10 Surprises After Two Weeks

1. UCLA – Talent never seems to be an issue for the Bruins. However, the results haven’t always matched the players on the roster. That isn’t the case in 2012, as UCLA is off to a promising 2-0 start, largely due to the emergence of quarterback Brett Hundley. Behind Hundley and running back Johnathan Franklin, the Bruins are averaging 649.5 yards and 42.5 points per game. UCLA’s defense needs some work, but its offense should be able to outscore a lot of teams on the schedule in 2012. With Houston, Oregon State and Colorado up next, the Bruins could be 5-0 going into the first weekend in October.

2. Arizona – Rich Rodriguez was a bad fit at Michigan, but he’s clearly the right man for the job in Tucson. The Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start, which includes a solid win over Toledo in the opener and an upset victory over Oklahoma State in Week 2. Rodriguez has found the perfect triggerman for his spread attack, as senior Matt Scott is tied for second nationally in total offense after two games. The Wildcats still have concerns on defense but should be 3-0 after beating South Carolina State this Saturday. Even though Arizona won’t win the Pac-12 this year, it’s clear Rodriguez has this program on the right track.

3. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon – Considering what he did as a freshman last season, Thomas’ numbers through the first two weeks shouldn’t be a shock. However, the sophomore’s statline is ridiculous. Thomas has scored on three of his 10 rushing attempts and is averaging 16.6 yards per carry. He has also scored on two of his eight receptions. It will be difficult to keep those numbers up the rest of the season, but Thomas is clearly one of the nation’s top playmakers and should make a run at the Heisman Trophy.

4. Iowa State – As long as Paul Rhoads is on the sideline in Ames, the Cyclones will be a threat to pull off a couple of upsets every year. Iowa State was listed as an underdog in the first two games of 2012 but won both contests. The Cyclones knocked off one of the favorites (Tulsa) for the Conference USA title in Week 1 and beat in-state rival in Iowa in Week 2. Considering Iowa State was an underdog in its first two games and seems to be improved off last season’s bowl team, the Cyclones are the Big 12’s top surprise team through the first two weeks. 

5. Oregon State – Due to a canceled game against Nicholls State in Week 1, there’s not much data on Oregon State. However, the limited sample size on the Beavers suggests this is an improved team. Oregon State upset Wisconsin last Saturday, and after struggling to stop the run in 2011, the Beavers allowed just 35 yards to the Badgers and forced three sacks. Oregon State has an uphill battle to get bowl eligible in the Pac-12 North, but don’t expect this team to be an easy out in conference play. 

6. Alabama’s defense – There was no doubt the Crimson Tide would reload on defense, but most expected it would take a couple of weeks before this unit was back to its usual shutdown ways. Two weeks into the season and it looks like Alabama is ready to match last year’s No. 1 ranking. The defense has allowed only 14 points through two weeks and ranks 14th in total defense (246.5 yards per game). Alabama’s defense won’t be as dominant with all of the new faces stepping in, however, this unit should still finish in the top five nationally in points and yards allowed.

7. Miami Hurricanes’ defense – Even with six new starters, no one could have predicted Miami’s defense would be this bad after two weeks. The Hurricanes have been abysmal so far, allowing an average of 42 points and 517.5 yards per game. This unit has barely generated a pass rush (1 sack) and ranks last in the ACC in total, scoring and pass defense. Miami suffered another setback in Saturday’s game against Kansas State, as linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the season. The Hurricanes should have a much easier time stopping Bethune-Cookman this Saturday, but Georgia Tech, NC State and Notre Dame will test this defense once again.

8. FCS upsets over FBS teams – Games against FCS teams aren’t always guaranteed wins and that’s been showcased through the first two weeks. FCS teams have pulled eight upsets so far – McNeese State over MTSU, Northern Arizona over UNLV, Sacramento State over Colorado, North Dakota State over Colorado State, UT Martin over Memphis, Illinois State over Eastern Michigan, Youngstown State over Pittsburgh and Eastern Washington over Idaho. Although none of those teams were national title contenders, FBS teams – especially those outside of the BCS – can’t take FCS teams lightly.

9. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse – Nassib was expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big East, but he stepped up his play to another level in 2012. Through the first two weeks of this season, Nassib has 804 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 32 yards and a score on the ground. The senior ranks second nationally with an average of 418 total yards per game and is completing 67 percent of his throws. Nassib should easily surpass last season’s totals – 2,685 yards and 22 touchdowns if he continues to play at this level. Considering Syracuse is struggling to keep opposing offenses out of the endzone, the Orange could ask Nassib to win a lot of shootouts in 2012.

10. Boise State’s defense – While Miami’s defense made it on this list for the wrong reasons, the Broncos earn a spot due to their Week 1 performance against Michigan State. Yes, this unit allowed 461 yards, but it forced four turnovers and took one interception back for a score. Boise State has only one game under its belt, but considering its defense had to break in 10 new starters, the early results are positive that this unit will remain one of the best in the nation. 


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 10 Surprises After Two Weeks</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:41
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-disappointments-after-two-weeks
Body:

The 2012 college football season is still young, but it's never too early to start looking at some of the biggest disappointments from the preseason. Arkansas' surprising loss to Louisiana-Monroe knocked it out of the national title picture, while the nation has yet to see Washington State's offense get on track. There's plenty of time for these teams, players and units to turn things around. However, after two weeks, these are our 10 biggest disappointments based on preseason expectations.

College Football’s Top 10 Disappointments After 2 Weeks

1. Arkansas – Yes, there was a drop off expected after Bobby Petrino was fired in the spring, but no one could have predicted Saturday night’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks are a solid Sun Belt team, but this is a game Arkansas should not lose. Losing quarterback Tyler Wilson certainly hurt, but the defense had an awful performance. The Razorbacks held national title hopes coming into the year but could struggle just to finish in the top 15 of the polls at the end of the season.

2. Washington State’s offense – With Mike Leach’s arrival in Pullman, and the return of quarterback Jeff Tuel and receiver Marquess Wilson, big things were expected of Washington State’s offense. Through two weeks, the Cougars have failed to live up to the hype, ranking 104th in scoring and 111th in yards per game (289.5). It’s early in the year, but it was a surprise to see Washington State’s offense sputter against Eastern Washington and BYU. A key reason for the struggles has been the play of the offensive line, which is allowing three sacks per game. Expect the Cougars to find their rhythm on offense as the year progresses, but bigger things were expected out of this unit against BYU and Eastern Washington.

3. Wisconsin – With the departure of a handful of assistant coaches, and quarterback Russell Wilson finishing his eligibility, the Badgers weren’t expected to match last season’s offensive numbers. However, Wisconsin’s offense has been lackluster through the first two weeks, recording only 26 points against Northern Iowa and seven against Oregon State. Bret Bielema has already made one change, firing offensive line coach Mike Markuson and more moves could be coming at the end of the year if Wisconsin’s offense doesn’t improve. Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball has just 181 yards and one touchdown through two weeks, while the Badgers rank 105th nationally in total yards per game. The good news for Wisconsin? The Leaders Division is essentially a three-team race – Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin – with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible to play for the Big Ten title. If the Badgers can find the right mix on the offensive line and get Ball going on the ground, this team can easily win the division title.

4. Auburn – The Tigers weren’t expected to be ranked in the top 10, but most thought this team would be improved. Through two weeks, Auburn clearly has a lot of work to do. The offense ranks last in the SEC in yards per game (295) and 13th in passing (159.5). Quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s performance hasn’t inspired much confidence so far, tossing four picks and completing less than 50 percent of his throws. Despite having some talent on the offensive line, Auburn is allowing two sacks per game and is averaging only 135.5 rushing yards per contest. With SEC games against LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama remaining, the Tigers will have its hands full just getting bowl eligible.

5. Pittsburgh – The Panthers were pegged as a darkhorse candidate to compete for the Big East title in the preseason, but it’s been an awful start to Paul Chryst’s tenure. Pittsburgh was dominated by FCS foe Youngstown State 31-17 in the season opener and failed to show much improvement in the Week 2 loss to Cincinnati. The biggest problem for Chryst has been a defense that has allowed 422.5 yards per game and has just one sack through the first two games. As with all of the teams on this list, Pittsburgh has time to turn things around. However, having four head coaches in three years has probably caught up to the Panthers.

6. Big Ten – Two weeks into the season and the Big Ten is off to a bad start. Throw out Northwestern’s wins against Syracuse and Vanderbilt and the conference has no other non-conference victories against BCS competition and Notre Dame (0-7). Ouch. Some of the outcomes weren’t a surprise, but Illinois was expected to challenge Arizona State (not having quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase certainly hurt) and Wisconsin was a heavy favorite to beat Oregon State. Considering the conference doesn’t have many opportunities to earn big non-conference wins the rest of the way, the Big Ten will have to wait until bowl season to get marquee victories against BCS competition.  

7. NCAA’s new helmet rule – Yes, safety is important, but this rule is ridiculous. There have been instances through the first two weeks where players are having their helmets ripped off by defenses and are forced to sit out the next play. It’s important for players to keep their helmets buckled tight for safety, but sitting out a play for something the defense is doing just doesn’t make sense – especially since the referees can’t catch everything. And wouldn’t this rule promote more aggressive play if defenses know any player has to miss a play if his helmet comes off? The intent is correct, but this rule could end up costing a team a victory this year. 

8. Houston – A year after nearly earning a BCS bowl, the Cougars are off to an 0-2 start and no longer appear to be the favorites to win Conference USA’s West Division. Of course, there were some key personnel losses, but new quarterback David Piland had experience and was joined by 12 returning starters. There’s been some turmoil surrounding this team already, as offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt was fired after the first game. New coach Tony Levine was a questionable hire and has done nothing to ease those concerns.

9. Utah – After finishing 2011 with wins in five out of their last six games, the Utes were picked to be USC’s biggest challenger in the Pac-12 South Division. Utah easily won the opener against Northern Colorado but dropped a 27-20 overtime game against in-state foe Utah State in Week 2. The Utes also lost quarterback Jordan Wynn for the year against the Aggies, only adding to the concern surrounding this team. Although Jon Hays and Travis Wilson could end up being a solid duo at quarterback, Utah does not look like the No. 2 team in the South.

10. FIU – The Golden Panthers haven’t been bad, but this team has a 20-point loss to Duke, who was thoroughly dismantled against Stanford in Week 2. FIU also needed overtime to beat an Akron team that was one of the worst in the nation in 2011. The Golden Panthers are still one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt title, but this team was a trendy upset pick against the Blue Devils in Week 1 and were expected to easily beat the Zips last Saturday.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

 


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College Football Week 2 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 10 Disappointments After Two Weeks</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:39
All taxonomy terms: TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /news/tcu-has-game-ball-2012-opener-delivered-jetpack
Body:

TCU opened the 2012 season in dramatic fashion. The Horned Frogs opened a renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with an easy 56-0 win over Grambling. There's a lot of momentum around the program this season, especially with a move to the Big 12. 

However, Saturday's win over Grambling might not have been the most exciting thing the fans got to watch. Before kickoff, the game ball was delivered via jetpack.

That's right - a jetpack.

Rocketman flies into the stadium and lands right around midfield to deliver the gameball for a historic 2012 season at TCU.

Teaser:
<p> TCU Has Game Ball for 2012 Opener Delivered by Jetpack</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 15:09
All taxonomy terms: AFC North, Cleveland Browns, News
Path: /news/trent-richardson-delivers-punishing-hit-philadelphias-kurt-coleman
Body:

Cleveland running back Trent Richardson wasn't expected to find much running room against Philadelphia in Week 1. The rookie rushed for 39 yards on 19 attempts and caught one pass for five years. 

Although Richardson had a lackluster statistical performance, he provided one of the weekend's top highlights by leveling Philadelphia safety Kurt Coleman. Richardson's punishing hit forces Coleman's helmet off, which isn't a bad way to announce your arrival in the NFL.

Teaser:
<p> Trent Richardson Delivers Punishing Hit to Philadelphia's Kurt Coleman</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 10:33
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/brandon-weeden-gets-trapped-under-american-flag-pregame-warmups
Body:

Brandon Weeden had a performance to forget in his first start. The rookie quarterback completed just 12 of 35 throws for 118 yards and four interceptions.

However, his bad day started in pregame warmups, as he was trapped under the American flag. Weeden eventually emerged from underneath the flag, but it was an embarrassing moment for the rookie quarterback from Oklahoma State.

Teaser:
<p> Brandon Weeden Gets Trapped Under American Flag In Pregame Warmups</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 09:56
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-2-power-rankings
Body:

It was a huge week in the SEC, as the conference officially welcomed its two new members. However, the new schools (Texas A&M and Missouri) both lost in its debuts but should be good additions to the conference. Tennessee moved to 2-0 with a win over Georgia State, and Alabama handled Western Kentucky with a 35-0 win. One of the biggest surprises in the SEC from Week 2 was Vanderbilt's loss to Northwestern.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. AJ McCarron, Alabama - Western Kentucky won’t be the toughest test of McCarron’s season, but the Tide’s quarterback completed 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. In his last six games, McCarron has 12 touchdown and no interceptions. Next up: Arkansas.

2. Tyler Bray, Tennessee - A bigger test will come this week against Florida, but Bray already appears poised for a career year by completing 45 of 61 of his passes for 643 yards with six touchdowns in his first two games.

3. Mike Gillislee, Florida - Where would the Gators be without their top running back? Florida wants to center its offense around the power run game, and Gillislee is delivering. After rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Bowling Green, the senior rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries against Texas A&M. Presumably, he would have been more of a factor had he not missed time with injury.
 

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia - Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Jones may be the best defensive player in America. He certainly was in the second week of the season as he almost single-handedly turned a stalemate of a game into a lopsided finish for Georgia. Jones set up a touchdown by intercepting a James Franklin pass and returning it 22 yards to the 1-yard line. Jones then sacked James Franklin later in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble to set up a touchdown to seal the 41-20 win.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State - Opposing quarterbacks avoided the Bulldogs cornerback over the second half of last season. Auburns’ Kiehl Frazier would have been wise to do the same. Banks had two first-half interceptions against the Tigers to go with six tackles. Banks has 14 career picks and seven in the last two seasons.

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M - The nation’s top pass rush from a year ago showed no signs of letting up against Florida. The Aggies had eight sacks against the Gators, led by Damontre Moore. The junior finished with three sacks and 10 tackles.
 

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama - Until further notice, Saban’s still the best coach in the country even when he’s chastising the media (when he’s really chastising his own players).

2. Mark Richt, Georgia - The Bulldogs are still missing key players on defense, but big plays from the D set the tone in a conference road win.

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina - It was only East Carolina, but the Gamecocks rolled despite a backup quarterback and only 40 yards from Marcus Lattimore.
 

Post-Week 2 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
1
Week 2 result: Beat Western Kentucky 35-0
It wasn’t the cleanest effort, but the Crimson Tide handled Western Kentucky to move to 2-0 on the year. Quarterback AJ McCarron was efficient and effective, completing 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama’s defense held the Hilltoppers to 224 yards, while also forcing four turnovers. One concern for the Crimson Tide was the play of the offensive line. Western Kentucky recorded six sacks against McCarron, giving something for Nick Saban and his staff to address in practice this week.
Next Game: at Arkansas

2. LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
2
Week 2 result: Beat Washington 41-3
The Tigers haven’t had to sweat much through the first two weeks and should cruise to a 3-0 start with Idaho up next. LSU fell behind 3-0 to Washington but took control through the rest of the first half with a dominating defensive line and rushing attack. The Tigers ended up with three running backs with at least 10 carries, with Alfred Blue leading the way with 101 yards. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger wasn’t flashy but finished with 195 yards on 12 completions. The only downside to Week 2 was an injury to tackle Chris Faulk in practice, who will miss the rest of the year.
Next Game: Idaho

3. Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
3
Week 2 result: Beat Missouri 41-20
All the talk about suspensions catching up to Georgia against Missouri seemed pretty silly by late Saturday. The Bulldogs still don’t have safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings. Instead, linebacker Jarvis Jones was a wrecking crew on defense on his own. The Bulldogs had some miscues early with two turnovers and five punts in the first eight possessions, but they were tough to stop on either side of the ball in the second half. Georgia held Missouri to 2.6 yards per carry, and Aaron Murray settled in to complete 22-of-35 passes for 242 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
This week: FAU

4. South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
4
Week 2 result: Beat East Carolina 48-10
South Carolina had no need for Connor Shaw and his bruised shoulder against East Carolina, and in the process, the Gamecocks found a perfectly capably backup quarterback. Dylan Thompson was 21-of-37 for 330 yards with three touchdowns against the Pirates in his first career start. The 397 yards through the air were the most at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier.
This week: UAB

5. Tennessee (2-0. 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
6
Week 2 result: Beat Georgia State 51-13
Georgia State was overmatched, but the Volunteers were encouraged to see their passing game click for the second time this season. Quarterback Tyler Bray finished 18 of 20 for 310 yards with four touchdown passes while receiver Justin Hunter showed he’s recovered from a torn ACL by catching eight passes for 146 yards with three touchdowns. Bray is riding a streak of 13 consecutive completions going into the matchup with Florida, which is suddenly the top game in the SEC following Arkansas’ loss to Louisiana-Monroe. If there’s a concern for Tennessee, it may be in the kicking game where Michael Palardy has missed two extra points and a field goal this season.
This week: Florida

6. Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
9
Week 2 result: Beat Texas A&M 20-17
Florida scored a major win in halftime adjustments. Without any film on Kevin Sumlin’s Texas A&M team, the Gators limped through the first half, especially in defending Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Gators allowed long drives throughout the first half, but they returned more disciplined in the second, forcing A&M to punt on all six second-half possessions. In his first game since being anointed as the starter, quarterback Jeff Driskel showed improvement, completing 13 of 16 passes for 162 yards with no turnovers. The Gators, though, must do a better job of protecting their quarterback, who was sacked eight times Saturday.
This week: at Tennessee

7. Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
12
Week 2 result: Beat Auburn 28-10
It’s only the second week of the season, but the Bulldogs 28-10 victory over Auburn was huge. The win over the Tigers was Dan Mullen’s first against a SEC West opponent outside of Ole Miss, while the game also showed it was a case of programs headed in opposite directions. Quarterback Tyler Russell completed 20 of 29 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense forced five turnovers and allowed no offensive touchdowns to Auburn. With games against Troy, South Alabama and Kentucky coming up, Mississippi State should be 5-0 before the Oct. 13 game against Tennessee.
Next Game: at Troy 

8. Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
7
Week 2 result: Lost to Georgia 41-20
The Tigers exited the loss to Georgia with bigger concerns than staring 0-1 in their new conference. The offensive line struggled from beginning to end and is facing a major injury to boot. Missouri had three bad snaps (including one over the head of quarterback James Franklin for a 24-yard loss) and two penalties on their first three possessions, and by halftime the line lost its leader. Tackle Elvis Fisher left the game with an MCL sprain, forcing a reshuffling of three spots on the line midway through the game. The result was a redshirt freshman at center and a career day for Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. If Fisher is out for a significant amount of time, the Tigers won’t have any warm up games with Arizona State and South Carolina on the schedule in the next two weeks.
This week: Arizona State

9. Texas A&M (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
8
Week 2 result: Lost to Florida 20-17
It was a big day in College Station but once again, the Aggies were unable to close out a lead in the second half. Texas A&M’s SEC debut started well, jumping out to a 17-7 lead at halftime. However, Florida kept Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel in check in the second half, while making a few timely plays on offense to drop Texas A&M to 0-1. Although the Gators have struggled to establish consistency on the offensive line, coordinator Mark Snyder has to be pleased with the Aggies’ defense recording eight sacks on Saturday. Texas A&M should break into the win column with a matchup against SMU this Saturday.
Next Game: at SMU

10. Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
5
Week 2 result: Lost to UL Monroe 34-31 (OT)
Whether it was a case of looking ahead to Alabama or injuries adding up, Saturday’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe was inexcusable for a team that expected to compete for the SEC West title. The Razorbacks were knocked out of the national title race with a 34-31 loss to the Warhawks, a game that turned on an injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson. Arkansas’ defense was a question mark entering the season and it doesn’t appear to be much better after allowing 550 yards in Saturday’s loss. The Razorbacks don’t have much time to mope about the disappointing effort, especially with No. 1 Alabama coming to Fayetteville.
Next Game: Alabama

11. Auburn (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
10
Week 2 result: Lost 28-10 to Mississippi State
Outside of Onterio McCalebb’s kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, there wasn’t much in the way of positives for Auburn to take away from Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers managed only 216 total yards and committed five turnovers. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier had a disastrous performance, completing only 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards and three interceptions. Making matters worse for the Tigers is the upcoming schedule, which features games against LSU, Arkansas and upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday. Unless the offense makes major strides, it will be tough for Auburn to make a bowl this year.
Next Game: UL Monroe

12. Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
11
Week 2 result: Lost to Northwestern 23-13
The optimism from last season’s bowl trip is beginning to wane after the Commodores started their season with losses to South Carolina and Northwestern. Against the Wildcats, Vanderbilt allowed 10 points in the final 2:06, breaking a 13-13 tie on the road. Although Northwestern’s defense was shredded by Syracuse a week earlier, Vanderbilt struggled to move the ball in the second half. Jordan Rodgers finished 17-of-33 for 217 yards, took three sacks and lost two fumbles. Against Presbyterian of the FCS, Vandy may have a chance to play backup quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who had a successful freshman season at Wyoming before his transfer. It might not be the last time Franklin turns to his backup.
This week: Presbyterian

13. Kentucky (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
13
Week 2 result: Beat Kent State 47-14
Kentucky needed a boost of confidence after the 32-14 loss to Louisville in the opener. The final score was lopsided, but the Wildcats led by merely a field goal until the final eight minutes of the third quarter. Kentucky scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to seal the rout. Maxwell Smith continues to be one of Kentucky’s only hopes for respectability. He was 30-of-39 for 354 yards with four touchdown passes an no interceptions against Kent State. And since taking over as Kentucky’s starting quarterback, he’s completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,403 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last six games.
This week: Western Kentucky

14. Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
14
Week 2 result: Beat UTEP 28-10
The competition hasn’t been great, but the Rebels have shown some signs of life and are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009. Ole Miss didn't dominate but was never really in any danger of losing to UTEP on Saturday night. Quarterback Bo Wallace has been solid through the first two weeks, completing 35 of 46 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns. Just how much has Ole Miss improved under new coach Huge Freeze? The Rebels should find out this Saturday with Texas coming to Oxford.
Next Game: Texas
 

by David Fox and Steven Lassan


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ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

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Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Week 2 College Football Recap

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With the top three teams playing non-conference opponents, it was a relatively quiet week in the ACC. NC State scored a key win at Connecticut, while Wake Forest opened conference play with a victory over North Carolina. Maryland matched its win total from last season by beating Temple, but Miami was whipped in a loss to Kansas State.

Post-Week 2 ACC Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington wasn’t called upon much in Clemson’s blowout win over Ball State. Through two weeks, the senior has 269 yards, two scores and is averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.

2. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins followed up a stellar effort in the opener against Auburn with six catches for 105 yards and three scores against Ball State.

3. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest – Campanaro delivered in a big way for Wake Forest’s offense against North Carolina, catching 13 passes for 164 yards.
 

Post-Week 2 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner barely played against Savannah State but still notched two tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss.

2. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – Vellano turned in another strong performance in Week 2, recording four tackles, one sack and one forced fumble against Temple.

3. Steve Greer, LB, Virginia – Greer has been a tackling machine through the first two weeks of the season, leading the team with 15 stops and two sacks in the narrow win over Penn State.
 

Post-Week 2 ACC Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles haven’t been challenged through the first two games, but this team still looks like the one to beat in the ACC.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – No letdown for the Tigers on Saturday, cruising to an easy 52-27 win over Ball State.

3. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons looked sluggish in their Week 1 win over Liberty but rebounded with a key ACC victory over North Carolina in Week 2.
 

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
1
Week 2 result: Beat Savannah State 55-0
As expected, the Seminoles cruised to an easy 55-0 victory over Savannah State. Inclement weather forced the game to end early, but there was really nothing for Florida State to gain by playing out the second half. Although the competition will get tougher over the next two weeks, it’s a positive sign the Seminoles have allowed zero sacks through the first two games. Quarterback EJ Manuel has been steady as well, completing 27 of 35 passes for 349 yards and four scores. Florida State’s quest for an ACC title starts on Saturday against Wake Forest.
Next Game: Wake Forest

2. Clemson (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
2
Week 2 result: Beat Ball State 52-27
After a big win over Auburn, Clemson’s coaching staff had to be worried about an early letdown against Ball State. However, those concerns were quickly erased with a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers got another solid performance from quarterback Tajh Boyd, throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Andre Ellington chipped in two touchdowns, while receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 105 yards and three scores. The Tigers have one more tune-up before taking on Florida State on Sept. 22. Although Clemson has been solid through the first two weeks, the offensive line still needs some work, and the defense has allowed 216 rushing yards per game.
Next Game: Furman

3. Virginia Tech (2-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
3
Week 2 result: Beat Austin Peay 42-7
No letdown. That’s the most important motto coming out of Week 2 for Virginia Tech. After playing Boise State on Labor Day and losing to James Madison the following week in 2010, the Hokies came out and easily handled Austin Peay. Quarterback Logan Thomas was an efficient 15 of 23 for 212 yards and two scores. The defense forced two turnovers and allowed the Governors to gain only 221 yards. Virginia Tech takes on future ACC rival Pittsburgh this Saturday and doesn’t play another conference game until Oct. 6 at North Carolina.
Next Game: at Pittsburgh

4. Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
5
Week 2 result: Beat Presbyterian 59-3
Presbyterian was the perfect get-well opponent for Georgia Tech. After suffering an overtime loss to Virginia Tech in Week 1, the Yellow Jackets used the FCS opponent to take out some frustration. The offense recorded 712 yards, and the defense pitched a shutout until the final 10 seconds of the game. Considering Georgia Tech already has an ACC loss, Saturday’s game against Virginia is a must-win contest. Another conference defeat would make it tough for the Yellow Jackets to claim the ACC Coastal title this year.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
6
Week 2 result: Beat Penn State 17-16
Despite being outgained (330 to 295) and losing the turnover battle, the Cavaliers knocked off Penn State 17-16. Virginia benefitted from the Nittany Lions struggling on field goals, as kicker Sam Ficken missed four attempts, including the game winner as time expired. Virginia’s rushing attack was grounded by Penn State, but quarterback Michael Rocco completed 21 of 33 passes for 258 yards and two scores to help pickup the offense. Although the Nittany Lions are down, it was a huge win for Virginia with games against Georgia Tech, TCU and Louisiana Tech upcoming.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

6. NC State (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
7
Week 2 result: Beat Connecticut 10-7
It was a hard-fought win for the Wolfpack in Week 2. NC State’s offense was held in check through most of the day, as Connecticut registered seven sacks and forced one turnover. However, quarterback Mike Glennon did just enough (15 of 30, 204 yards), while the defense made a key stop with less than two minutes to go to seal the victory. Cornerback David Amerson struggled in the opener but picked off one pass and made a crucial pass breakup late in the fourth quarter.
Next Game: South Alabama

7. Wake Forest (2-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat North Carolina 28-27
The Demon Deacons make a three-spot jump in the power rankings thanks to a 28-27 win over North Carolina. After struggling to beat Liberty in Week 1, Wake Forest looked much better in Saturday’s victory, largely due to quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. The duo hooked up 13 times for 164 yards, which was just enough for the Demon Deacons to beat the Tar Heels for the third time in the last four games.
Next Game: at Florida State

8. North Carolina (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 2 result: Lost to Wake Forest 28-27
A week after cruising to a 62-0 win over Elon, the Tar Heels suffered a 28-27 loss to Wake Forest in the ACC opener for both teams. North Carolina’s offense was hindered by the absence of running back Giovani Bernard, and the defense had no answer for the Demon Deacons’ passing combo of quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. Bernard’s availability is uncertain for Week 3, and a secondary that was torched by Wake Forest will be under fire from Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: at Louisville

9. Miami (1-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
8
Week 2 result: Lost to Kansas State 52-13
After two games, it’s pretty clear Al Golden has a lot of work to do if Miami is going to finish with a winning record. The offense has shown signs of life, but the defense has allowed 84 points through two weeks and is allowing 517.5 yards per game. The Hurricanes had no chance in Saturday’s game and was easily blown out 52-13 by Kansas State. Miami’s struggling defense suffered another setback on Sunday, as linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the year due to an injury. The Hurricanes should bounce back against Bethune-Cookman next Saturday, but the real test comes against Georgia Tech, NC State and Notre Dame in the next three games.
Next Game: Bethune-Cookman

10. Duke (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
9
Week 2 result: Lost to Stanford 50-13
After the Blue Devils knocked off FIU 46-26 in Week 1 and Stanford struggled to beat San Jose State, some thought Duke had a shot to pull off the upset in Palo Alto. Not so fast. The Blue Devils quickly fell behind in the first quarter and trailed 23-3 at halftime. The defense allowed Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes to throw for 275 yards in his second start, while Duke’s offense turned the ball over four times. After a disappointing performance, the Blue Devils should get back into the win column with N.C. Central in Week 3.
Next Game: N.C. Central

11. Boston College (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
11
Week 2 result: Beat Maine 34-3
The Eagles bounced back after a disappointing Week 1 loss to Miami, handling Maine for a 34-3 victory. Quarterback Chase Rettig misfired on half of his passes but finished with 219 yards and three scores. The rushing attack was steady, getting 90 yards from Deuce Finch and 61 from Andre Williams. Receiver Spiffy Evans did his part on special teams with an 82-yard punt return in the third quarter. After allowing Miami to gain 415 yards in the opener, Boston College’s defense stepped up and held Maine to 193 yards. However, the defense will be tested by a Northwestern offense that’s averaging 32.5 points a game next Saturday.
Next Game: at Northwestern

12. Maryland (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
12
Week 2 result: Beat Temple 36-27
It hasn’t been pretty, but the Terrapins have already matched their win total from last season. True freshman quarterback Perry Hills rebounded after a sluggish performance in the opener to throw for 190 yards and two scores to beat Temple 36-27. Hills and the offense got a little help from the defense, which forced three turnovers and held the Owls to 52 rushing yards. The Terrapins are improved, but this team still has a ways to go before it can think about making bowl reservations in 2012.
Next Game: Connecticut
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

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Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:53
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We mentioned last week that the waiver wire is the deepest after Week One.  Last week’s names included:  Ameer Abdullah, Beau Blankenship, LaDarius Perkins, David Oku, Marcus Sales, Jaime Wilson, Davante Adams, Austin Hill, and Dan Buckner.  As previously stated in last week’s Waiver article, finding consistent fantasy production only gets tougher as the season progresses.  Don’t wait another week if anyone on this list is still available in your league.

Post-Week 2's Best Pickups

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA

Hundley should be able to do more than just hold his own once the Bruins get into their conference schedule.

Connor Halliday, QB-Washington State

Starter Jeff Tuel left last week’s game with a knee injury, so Halliday should get his shot in Mike Leach’s ‘Air-Raid’ attack.

Rolandan Finch, RB-Boston College

Finch returned from injury and ran for 90 yards on 17 carries.  Expect a heavier workload next week at Northwestern.

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force

Getz proved that Week One was not a fluke by rushing for 130 yards and three touchdowns at Michigan.

Damien Williams, RB-Oklahoma

Even though Williams has only 19 carries in two weeks, his 13.7 yards-per-carry and five touchdowns cannot be ignored.

Leighton Settle, RB-Northern Illinois

Settle’s numbers have not been overly impressive, but defenses will start focusing their attention on quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia

The freshman running back has been too productive not to be given a bigger role as the season progresses.

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern

Mark has given the Wildcats’ offense some stability at a position that was in question leading up to the season.

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo

If you picked up and started Neutz after we posted him onto our Emergency Starters list last Friday, you were rewarded with four touchdowns and 154 yards receiving against Morgan State.

Isaiah Burse, WR-Fresno State

Burse was another receiver that was in our Emergency Starters piece last week.  He and Davante Adams have clearly become WR#1 and WR#2 options for quarterback Derek Carr.

Austin Franklin, WR-New Mexico State

We were hesitant to pull the trigger after Franklin’s 200-yard, two touchdown game against Sacramento State to open the season, but he posted respectable numbers (5-72-1) against better competition (Ohio) in Week Two.

Jamison Crowder, WR-Duke

Crowder has posted at least six catches and 100 yards receiving in the first two weeks of the season. 


by Joe DiSalvo

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After going undefeated in Week 1, the Big 12 wasn't so lucky in Week 2. Oklahoma State fell on the road to Arizona, while Kansas suffered a surprising defeat to Rice. Oklahoma and Texas had easy victories over bad competition, and TCU opened a renovated stadium with an easy victory over Grambling. Iowa State moved to 2-0 with an ugly, but crucial 9-6 victory over Iowa.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – The Mountaineers were off in Week 2, but Smith still ranks No. 1 after throwing for 323 yards and four scores in Week 1.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein has picked up where he left off last season, recording 504 yards and six touchdowns through two weeks.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle didn’t reach the endzone against Arizona but managed 193 overall yards on 31 touches.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown came up big against his former school (Miami) recording 10 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery. Brown has 15 tackles through two weeks.

2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State – Knott recorded only six tackles against the Hawkeyes but came up with arguably the biggest play of the game, picking off James Vandenberg with less than two minutes to go to seal the win.

3. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat has been steady through the first two weeks, recording 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State – The Cyclones will have to scrap to get to another bowl, but once again, Rhoads has this team in good position after two weeks.

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State – The schedule will get tougher over the next few weeks, but Kansas State seems to be loaded for another run at 10 victories.

3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – The Mountaineers were off in Week 2 but had an impressive debut in Week 1 against Marshall.
 

Post-Week 2 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 2 result: Beat Florida A&M 69-13
As expected, the Sooners had no trouble cruising to a 69-13 victory over Florida A&M in Week 2. Oklahoma hasn’t posted huge passing totals, but quarterback Landry Jones completed 19 of 28 passes for 252 yards in the win over the Rattlers. The rushing attack was a concern going into the season, but junior college recruit Damien Williams has been impressive through the first two games. One cause for concern: The offensive line. Oklahoma has allowed three sacks against two mediocre opponents. The Sooners have a bye this Saturday and return to action on Sept. 22 against Kansas State.
Next Game: Kansas State (Sept. 22)

2. Texas (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 2 result: Beat New Mexico 45-0
So far, so good for the Longhorns. The passing attack still needs some work, but quarterback David Ash has thrown for 377 yards and two scores (without an interception) through the first two weeks. The biggest tests are still to come, but Texas has to be encouraged with Ash’s performance so far. As expected, the Longhorns have been strong on defense and rank eighth nationally in points allowed through two weeks.
Next Game: at Ole Miss

3. West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
3
Week 2 result: Did not play
After an impressive debut against Marshall, the Mountaineers had a bye in Week 2. West Virginia will return to action this Saturday, traveling to Maryland for a neutral site matchup against James Madison in Landover. The Mountaineers seem to have the offense firing on all cylinders, but the defense allowed 545 yards in the opener against the Thundering Herd. Expect West Virginia to get better on defense as the year progresses, especially as the two new co-coordinators and scheme mixes with the personnel.
Next Game: James Madison

4. TCU (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
5
Week 2 result: Beat Grambling 56-0
The Horned Frogs christened a renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with an impressive 56-0 rout over Grambling. Sure, the blowout was expected, but TCU quarterbacks did not throw an incompletion, while a revamped defense allowed only 70 yards. The Horned Frogs have another milestone ahead this Saturday, as they play their first game as Big 12 members against Kansas. TCU’s offense should have no trouble moving the ball against the Jayhawks, but this will be a better test for its retooled defense.
Next Game: at Kansas

5. Kansas State (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 2 result: Beat Miami 52-13
The Wildcats needed a last-second defensive stand to beat Miami last season, but the 2012 matchup was a one-sided affair. Kansas State jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Quarterback Collin Klein completed 9 of 11 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown, while adding 71 yards and three scores on the ground. After allowing 418 yards to Missouri State in Week 1, Kansas State’s defense held the Hurricanes to 277 yards and forced three turnovers. Linebacker Arthur Brown had a huge game against his former team, recording 10 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Next Game: North Texas

6. Oklahoma State (1-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
4
Week 2 result: Lost to Arizona 59-38
Despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead against Arizona, the Cowboys were unable to capitalize on the momentum and suffered a 59-38 defeat. Oklahoma State outgained the Wildcats 636 to 501 but committed a ridiculous 15 penalties and lost four turnovers. Although he threw three interceptions, the Cowboys have to be pleased with freshman quarterback Wes Lunt’s performance. He threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns and certainly wasn’t the reason Oklahoma State lost. The Cowboys take on upset-minded Louisiana-Lafayette in Week 3 and open Big 12 play on Sept. 29 against Texas.
Next Game: UL Lafayette

7. Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
7
Week 2 result: Did not play
The Bears had their first of two bye weeks this season and did not play on Saturday. Baylor cruised to an easy 59-24 victory over SMU in Week 1 and should move to 2-0 with a favorable matchup against Sam Houston State next Saturday. The Bears have two more non-conference games before Big 12 play begins, which provides this team a few chances to work on the defense and get Nick Florence comfortable as the full-time starter.
Next Game: Sam Houston State

8. Iowa State (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
8
Week 2 result: Beat Iowa 9-6
It’s a clear sign of the Big 12’s depth when Iowa State ranks eighth after two weeks. The Cyclones have scored two impressive victories so far, beating one of the frontrunners for the Conference USA title (Tulsa), while knocking off in-state rival Iowa in Week 2. Quarterback Steele Jantz has been steady through the first two weeks, and the defense has made a few timely plays and forced five turnovers. Although the Cyclones have earned two tough wins to begin the season, it won’t get any easier with Big 12 play starting on Sept. 29.
Next Game: Western Illinois

9. Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
9
Week 2 result: Beat Texas State 58-10
The competition hasn’t been elite, but the Red Raiders are showing signs last season’s collapse is behind them. Texas Tech quickly dispatched any hopes Texas State had of an upset on Saturday, scoring 21 points in the first quarter and taking a 38-10 lead into halftime. Quarterback Seth Doege led the way against the Bobcats by throwing for 319 yards and five touchdowns, while the rushing attack generated 186 overall yards. The defense was a sore spot but has allowed just 16 points through two games. Bigger tests are ahead, but Texas Tech is off to a good start and should be 3-0 when it travels to Iowa State on Sept. 29.
Next Game: New Mexico

10. Kansas (1-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 2 result: Lost 25-24 to Rice
The Jayhawks opened up the Charlie Weis era with a victory over South Dakota State but took a step back with Saturday’s loss to Rice. Kansas was outgained by the Owls (403 to 339) and also had three turnovers. Quarterback Dayne Crist had an off performance too, completing 16 of 28 throws for 144 yards. As Saturday’s performance showed, Weis still has a lot of work to do in order to make the Jayhawks a competitive Big 12 team, and the road ahead won’t get any easier with TCU coming up next Saturday.
Next Game: TCU

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

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<p> Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:49
Path: /college-football/missouri-and-texas-am-5-things-watch-sec
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Missouri and Texas A&M technically joined the SEC on July 1, 2012, but Saturday will be the official introduction for both programs into their new conference home. While it won’t be easy to win championships in the SEC, it’s a conference with more stability and neither program will have to worry about a home in future realignment.

Both teams have the necessary resources to win division titles and compete for BCS bowls, but there will be a transition period to the SEC. Texas A&M made one of the top hires of the offseason, pulling Kevin Sumlin away from Houston to lead the charge into the SEC. Missouri is better equipped to win right away, especially with the return of quarterback James Franklin and the arrival of No. 1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham.

What should Missouri and Texas A&M expect on Saturday and into the future with the move to the SEC? There’s no doubt the competition will be tougher, but both teams will also have to adapt to a different style of play.

Here are five things to watch as Missouri and Texas A&M kickoff their SEC openers:

1. Increased Competition
The Big 12 is no slouch when it comes to competition, as it is arguably the No. 2 conference in college football. However, Missouri and Texas A&M move from a conference with just 10 teams to one with 14. The SEC had nine bowl-eligible teams last season, including LSU and Alabama – the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation. In the final BCS standings released last year, the SEC had four teams in the top 10, while the Big 12 had two. Recruiting is a key part of any successful program, but it’s an even bigger deal in the SEC. Thirty-four of the top 100 recruits in Athlon’s 2012 Consensus 100 signed with an SEC school. It may sound cliché, but the best recruits want to play in the No. 1 conference and that only adds to the pressure of coaching staffs to reel in the top talent. The Big 12 is a tough conference, but the SEC is the best of the best.

2. Different Style of Play
In the Big 12, it’s all about offense. Seven Big 12 teams ranked in the top 35 of scoring offense last season, each averaging at least 31 points a game. There are a few exceptions (Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State), but most of the teams in the Big 12 base its offense around a pass-first approach. The SEC had four offenses in the top 35, with Arkansas leading the way with an average of 36.8 points a game. However, only two teams (Arkansas and Tennessee) had more rushing attempts than passing attempts last season. While spread offenses like the ones Missouri and Texas A&M will be running can work in the SEC, the conference places more emphasis on the rushing attack and winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. The Tigers and Aggies will both see more 3-4 and 4-3 looks from SEC defenses, as opposed to the 4-2-5 alignments some Big 12 teams have been using. 

3. Tougher Defenses
This aspect relates to the style of play, as the SEC is home to some of the best defenses in the nation. Alabama swept the four main defensive categories last year, while LSU allowed just 11.3 points per game. The defense didn’t end with those two teams, as only three SEC teams ranked outside of the top 50 in scoring defense. One of the reasons for the SEC's dominance on defense is the depth and talent in the front seven. For instance, LSU could have five players drafted from its defensive line over the next couple of seasons. That type of depth in the trenches just wasn’t there in the Big 12. Instead of recruiting skill players to run four- and five-wide sets, the SEC places a heavy emphasis on speed and depth on defense. Missouri and Texas A&M are bringing in a variation of a spread offense and while both options can work in the SEC, expect the Tigers and Aggies to find less room to maneuver on offense this year.

4. The Week-to-Week Grind
Just as we mentioned with the increase in competition, the SEC will present a tougher week-to-week grind for Missouri and Texas A&M. It won’t be a huge difference, but there are no easy games in conference play. In a six-game stretch of conference games in late September-October, the Aggies play four games on the road, including matchups against Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State. Even though Ole Miss is down, the Rebels are capable of pulling an upset. The Big 12 was tough, but the SEC’s week-to-week grind and a slight disadvantage in depth will be something to watch for Texas A&M and Missouri. 

5. The SEC…Its Just Different
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin had the perfect analogy to describe just how important the SEC is. “There are three conferences that matter in football, the AFC, NFC and the SEC.” It’s difficult to describe, but life in the SEC is just different than it is in other conferences. The fan support and commitment to facilities and winning is the best in college football. And we can’t forget the message boards either. The SEC is home to most of college football’s most rabid fanbases, and the conference will only kick that up a notch with Missouri and Texas A&M coming into the fold.
 

Georgia at Missouri – One Key Matchup to Watch

Can Missouri’s offensive line block Georgia’s defensive front?
The Tigers have suffered a few injuries on the offensive line since fall camp, so this unit has had to do a little shuffling. The tackle spots are set with Elvis Fisher and Justin Britt, but the interior of the line will be under attack from Georgia’s massive tackle duo of John Jenkins (358 pounds) and Kwame Geathers (355 pounds). Center Mitch Morse has only one career start, right guard Max Copeland is a former walk-on and also has only one start in his career, while true freshman Evan Bohem is expected to start at left guard. Jenkins and Geathers aren’t just difficult to move as both players are active against the run and can wreck havoc in opposing backfields. In addition to finding ways to slow down Georgia’s defensive line, the Tigers will need to keep tabs on linebacker Jarvis Jones, one of the nation’s top pass rushers. With an inexperienced offensive line, expect the Bulldogs to throw a few different looks at Missouri to create pre-snap confusion.
 

Florida at Texas A&M – One Key Matchup to Watch

Can Florida take advantage of Texas A&M’s young cornerbacks?
The Gators struggled to establish any consistency on offense last week, recording only 145 yards through the air and 27 points against Bowling Green. Florida has settled on Jeff Driskel as its starting quarterback and he should have an opportunity to take advantage of Texas A&M’s young cornerbacks. True freshman De’Vante Harris will start on one side, while sophomore Deshazor Everett will man the other spot. Driskel showed he has a long ways to go as a passer, but he should be able to exploit an Aggies’ secondary that allowed 276.3 passing yards per game last year. The Gators can’t blame Driskel for all of their struggles through the air, especially with inconsistent play from the receiving corps and offensive line. Expect Texas A&M to counter with pressure to help protect the cornerbacks, especially linebacker Sean Porter who led the team with 9.5 sacks last year.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven
 

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Teaser:
<p> Missouri and Texas A&amp;M: 5 Things to Watch in the SEC</p>
Post date: Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:16

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